Michael Eisner who ran The Walt Disney Company from September 1984 to September 2005 and has shared his thoughts about his two successors for both Bob Iger and Chapek. Iger offically departed the company on December 31st, 2021 and Eisner praises both Bobs.
“I am a big fan of Disney. I am a fan of both Bobs. Yes I hired him [Chapek]. Is he the same executive as I am, or Bob [Iger] is, or anybody is? He is his own guy. He was very good at Disney when I was there. He took our home video business from a rental to a sell-through business. That was very risky. He did a very good job in the parks. I am a shareholder. I think he’s going to do very well,” in a interview with CNBC on Wednesday.
Iger took the entertainment industry by a suprise as he stepped down as CEO back in February 2020. He spent nearly 45+ years with the company from 2005 to 2021 and focused on his transition year towards Chapek. The talks for the transition outside of Disney, as Eisner weighed in.
“We’ve talked about it,” Eisner said. “Having 50 unanswered emails, and seven scripts you haven’t read and 30 phone calls you haven’t returned… Getting off that treadmill is not a horrible thing. I think he is interested in writing another book, looking at his opportunities. He is not 25 years old, as I’m not. Between ABC and Disney, he spent many years at one institution. I think he is coming up for air and you will hear about him and things he will be doing and his wife Willow [Bay] will be doing in the future.”
He further elborated, “There is no loser here. I don’t think the shareholders are losers here, or the consumers are losers here, or certainly either of them (Chapek or Iger)”.
Eisner also believes that Disney has done historically well. “Bob [Iger] did extremely well. We did OK. I wouldn’t discount Disney. Disney went through… this pandemic. That does change a lot of things. I wouldn’t throw away your Disney tickets to the theme parks quite so early.” Investors have taken a more grudging stance on the company starting last year as streaming growth slowed. The stock had been a Wall Street darling in 2020 on the explosive growth of Disney+ despite pandemic woes that shuttered parks and halted production.
For Disney’s Direct-To-Consumer business for Disney+ skyrockted in 2020 and the company was a favorite for investors, even though 2021 was a slow burn for the results the company was hoping for. As of this publishing from Disney’s FY21 late September for annual subscribers is 118.1 million.
“I believe that the streaming business is here to stay,” he said, ticking off Netflix, Disney+, Amazon, Apple and HBO Max. “That doesn’t mean theaters outside the home are going away. I believe moviegoing will return. Spider-Man has shown us that it will. But soon the middle level movies will come back” too”.
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