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Disney: Bob Iger to return as CEO

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Bob Iger was appointed chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company late Sunday, some two years after he left the position. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/e982d787bdd817066c7f254a6e33c38c/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Bob Iger was appointed chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company late Sunday, some two years after he left the position. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The Walt Disney Company announced late Sunday that former CEO Bob Iger will return to lead the U.S. media behemoth following a less-than-stellar year for its pocketbook.

Iger, who stepped down as chief executive in February 2020 to become Disney's executive chairman, will resume his former position effective immediately, Susan Arnold, chair of the Walt Disney Company Board of Directors, said in a statement.

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"Mr. Iger has the deep respect of Disney's senior leadership team, most of whom he worked closely with until his departure as executive chairman 11 months ago, and he is greatly admired by Disney employees worldwide -- all of which will allow for a seamless transition of leadership," she said.

The 71-year-old is returning to lead the company following a mixed fourth quarter that saw its Disney+ subscription service grow by 12.1 million users but at a cost of $1.5 billion. On the year, net income for the company was $162 million, representing an only 1% increase from 2021.

The surprise move means Bob Chapek -- who was appointed chief executive after Iger and had previously served as chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products -- would be stepping down.

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"We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic," Arnold said.

"The board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the company through this pivotal period."

Iger was Disney's chief executive from 2005 to 2020 and is credited with acquiring some of its biggest brands, including Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox.

Arnold said that Iger would be returning as chief executive for a two-year period during which he has been given the directive by the board to set Disney's growth strategy and to develop a successor to lead the company once his contract expires.

"I am deeply honored to be asked to again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unrivaled, bold storytelling," Iger said in a statement.

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