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5 things to know about Disney CEO Bob Chapek, Bob Iger's surprise successor

Published by Business Insider on Wed, 26 Feb 2020


Disney CEO Bob Iger announced on Wednesday that Bob Chapek will succeed him, effective immediately.Chapek, who has worked at Disney for 27 years, went on family vacations to Walt Disney World as a child.As president of consumer products, he focused on franchises and technology and pioneered new forms of distribution.While in charge of Disney's parks, he opened Shanghai Disney Resort and introduced the "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" land.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.Disney CEO Bob Iger made the surprise announcement on Wednesday that Bob Chapek will succeed him, effective immediately.Chapek, one of the entertainment titan's veteran executives, will oversee its sprawling operations. They include the ABC and ESPN television networks, Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks, and Disney Stores. Disney also acquired 21st Century Fox last year, bringing the 20th Century Fox movie and TV studios along with cable channels such as FX under the company's wing.Disney also owns Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, meaning its movie credits span in-house studio hits such as "Frozen" as well as "Toy Story 3" "Avengers: Endgame," and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Iger has taken the role of executive chairman to focus on Disney's creative output .Here are five things to know about Chapek:1. Bob Chapek is a lifelong Disney fanBob Chapek described his lifelong passion for Disney after Bob Iger announced his ascension to CEO on Wednesday."When I was growing up in Hammond, Indiana, the son of a World War II veteran and working mother, my parents would take us on a family vacation to Walt Disney World every year," Chapek said on the call with analysts."That's where I first developed a deep love for Disney and all that it stands for," he continued."That young boy could have never imagined that one day he would get the chance to lead this extraordinary company as the seventh CEO in its nearly 100-year history."2. He has a degree in microbiology and worked at HeinzChapek graduated from Indiana University Bloomington with a degree in microbiology. He received a Masters in Business Administration from Michigan State University.Before joining Disney, he worked in brand management at HJ Heinz and in advertising at J Walter Thompson, according to his official profile.2. Chapek has held senior roles across DisneyChapek has held leadership positions across several of Disney's divisions.He served as president of distribution for the company's movie studio, president of its home entertainment business, and president of consumer products. He went on to become chairman of parks and resorts between 2015 and 2018.Chapek's most recent position, following Disney's divisional restructuring in 2018, was chairman of parks, experiences, and products.3. He pioneered several changes to products and distributionChapek spearheaded major changes to Disney's consumer products while in charge of the division.One of his "hallmarks" was refocusing the segment around franchises rather than categories, CFO Jay Rasulo said at a media conference in 2014. Chapek also pushed the division to integrate technology into products and explore innovations such as wearables."He's well aware that, as he likes to say, the intersection of electrons and atoms is growing even in the consumer products area," Rasulo said at the time.Chapek's other major contribution was "pushing his team to sort of take off the blinders and look at alternative business models," Rasulo continued.For example, Chapek experimented with licensing directly to retailers and offering them exclusive product lines, Rasulo said. He also worked with JCPenney to put wholesale stores in its department stores.5. Chapek expanded and improved Disney's theme parksChapek oversaw the largest investment and expansion of Disney's theme parks and resorts business in its history, according to his official profile.His recent achievements include opening Shanghai Disney Resort, nearly doubling the size of the Disney Cruise Line fleet, and introducing the technologically advanced "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" land at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.Chapek also rolled out improvements to MagicBand, which Disney's theme-park guests can use as a hotel-room key, entry ticket, "fast pass" for rides, and a debit card for buying meals and merchandise.
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