March 23 (UPI) -- The Walt Disney Company said its Board of Directors extended Robert A. Iger's contract as chairman and CEO until 2019 as it looks for a successor.
Iger's contract will now expire on July 2, 2019. Orin C. Smith, the independent lead director of the Disney Board, said Iger's "outstanding leadership" and his "clear strategic vision for Disney's future" were among reasons to extend his contract.
Iger was originally set to retire in June 2018.
"During his tenure, Mr. Iger has created enormous value for shareholders, with total shareholder return of 448 percent, compared to 144 percent for the S&P 500, and a dramatic increase in the company's market capitalization to $177 billion from $46 billion," Smith said in a statement.
The Board said it is going through the "robust process of identifying a successor and ensuring a smooth transition" following the departure of the 66-year-old.
In 2005, Disney announced Iger would succeed Michael Eisner as chief executive. Iger worked his way up in the ABC sports division and was later appointed president of ABC Entertainment where he shepherded the popular shows: Doogie Howser, M.D., Family Matters, Home Improvement and America's Funniest Home Videos.
He was also the ABC executive who in 1991 cancelled Twin Peaks, China Beach, Thirtysomething and Equal Justice.