Disney will undergo a huge transition over the next two years.
The studio announced on Tuesday (February 25) that its CEO Bob Iger will be stepping down from his role immediately, ending a 15-year stint in the job.
He will be passing over the chief executive role to Bob Chapek, the current chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Iger will temporarily remain with Disney as chairman of its board of directors until December 2021.
In a statement, Iger revealed that the completion of Disney’s purchase of X-Men and Deadpool studio Fox made now “the optimal time to transition to a new CEO”.
“I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months,” he said in a statement.
The elevation of Chapek to CEO of the Walt Disney Company is likely to have a significant impact on Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and Disney’s own movie slate and theme park plans in the immediate and long-term future.
For historical context, Iger brought sweeping changes to Disney when he took over the top job from Michael Eisner in 2005, following a hostile attempt by the Disney family to oust Eisner.
Within the first several years of his tenure, Iger rebuilt the studio’s relationship with Pixar, headed up Disney’s purchase of Marvel in 2009 and oversaw buying Star Wars studio Lucasfilm in 2012.
Chapek could make similar sweeping moves now that he is taking control of Disney, especially now that the studio controls Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel and Fox.
Chapek’s time as head of Disney parks has seen an expansion of attractions based on popular film properties, including the Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge land and the soon-to-open Marvel’s Avengers Campus at Disneyland.
Disney is set for a major expansion this spring into the UK, when its streaming service Disney+ finally launches in Europe.
Disney+ will finally launch in the UK on March 24, and is currently available in the US.
Digital Spy now has a newsletter – sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox.
Want up-to-the-minute entertainment news and features? Just hit ‘Like’ on our Digital Spy Facebook page and ‘Follow’ on our @digitalspy Instagram and Twitter accounts.