Walt Disney Co. has elected Bob Chapek, the company’s newly appointed chief executive, to its board of directors, less than two months after the surprise announcement that he would succeed Bob Iger in the top spot.
“Bob Chapek has demonstrated remarkable leadership in the face of unprecedented challenges that were unimaginable when he became CEO just seven weeks ago, and we’ve watched him navigate this very complex situation with decisiveness and compassion,” said Iger and Susan Arnold, independent lead director of the Disney board. “We are pleased to add Bob to the Board, as we stated we would when he was named CEO.”
Iger has since transitioned to the role of executive chairman. The Disney board now has 10 members, including Chapek.
Prior to his elevation to CEO, Chapek served as chairman of Disney’s parks, experiences and products division for two years, and was chairman of parks and resorts since 2015. The Disney veteran has spent 27 years at the entertainment conglomerate. Though Iger had made clear that he did not intend to delay his retirement beyond the end of his contract through the end of 2021, the changing of the guard on Feb. 25 took the industry by surprise.
The segment Chapek led most recently has been hit hard in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with all Disney theme parks and resorts worldwide now shuttered, including the indefinite closure of Disneyland and Walt Disney World in the U.S. Amid the shelter-in-place orders that have shut down the vast majority of the entertainment industry, Disney has furloughed tens of thousands of workers across various divisions. Iger has decided to forgo his salary for the year, while Chapek has slashed his pay in half as Disney’s senior execs each take pay cuts.