Bob Iger
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Bob Iger

Bob Iger
Iger in 2013
Robert Allen Iger

(1951-02-10) February 10, 1951 (age 69)
EducationIthaca College (BS)
OccupationBusiness executive
Years active1974-present
EmployerThe Walt Disney Company
TitleExecutive Chairman
PredecessorMichael Eisner
SuccessorBob Chapek
Political partyDemocratic (before 2016)
Unaffiliated (2016-present)[1]
  • Kathleen Susan
  • (m. 1995)
Robert A. Bob Iger signature.svg

Robert Allen Iger (; born February 10, 1951)[2] is an American business executive who is Executive Chairman of The Walt Disney Company. He was CEO from 2005 to 2020. Before working for Disney, Iger served as the President of ABC Television from 1994 to 1995, and as President/COO of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. from 1995 until Disney's acquisition of the company in 1996.

He was named President and COO of Disney in 2000, and later succeeded Michael Eisner as CEO in 2005, after a successful effort by Roy E. Disney to shake up the management of the company. As part of his yearly compensation, Iger earned $44.9 million in 2015. During Iger's tenure, Disney broadened the company's roster of intellectual properties and its presence in international markets; Iger oversaw the acquisitions of Pixar in 2006 for $7.4 billion, Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $4 billion, Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.06 billion, and 21st Century Fox in 2019 for $71.3 billion, as well as the expansion of the company's theme park resorts in East Asia, with the introduction of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Shanghai Disney Resort in 2005 and 2016, respectively.

Iger was a driving force behind the reinvigoration of Walt Disney Animation Studios and the branded-release strategy of its film studio's output. Under Iger, Disney has experienced increases in revenue across its various divisions, with the company's market capitalization value increasing from $48.4 billion to $257 billion over a period of thirteen years.

On February 25, 2020, Iger announced he would step down as CEO of The Walt Disney Company effective immediately, naming Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, as his successor, making him the 7th CEO in the company's history. Iger will continue to serve as Executive Chairman and Chairman of Disney's Board of Directors until December 2021.[3] In mid-April, Iger resumed running Disney temporarily to help the company through the COVID-19 pandemic.[4]

Early life

Iger, a secular Jew, was born to a Jewish family in New York City.[2][5][6] He is the oldest son of Mimi (née Tunick) and Arthur L. Iger (b. 1926).[7][8] His father was a World War II Navy veteran[9] who served as the executive vice president and general manager of the Greenvale Marketing Corporation, and was also a professor of advertising and public relations; he also played the trumpet and had manic-depressive disorder.[10][7][9] His mother worked at Boardman Junior High School in Oceanside, New York.[11][12] Arthur's father Joe (i.e. Bob's paternal grandfather) was cartoonist Jerry Iger's brother.

He was raised in Oceanside, where he attended the Fulton Avenue School and graduated from Oceanside High School in 1969.[13][14] Iger developed a love of books from a young age.[9] In 1973, he graduated magna cum laude from the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Television and Radio.[15]


Iger began his media career in 1972 as the host of Campus Probe, an Ithaca College television show. He dreamed of becoming a news anchor while he worked as a weatherman in Ithaca for five months, before shifting his career goals.[16][17]

American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

In 1974, Iger joined the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).[18][19] His first job was performing menial labor on television sets for $150 a week (over $700, adjusted for inflation).[9]

In 1989, he was named head of ABC Entertainment.[20] He served as president of the ABC Network Television Group from January 1993 to 1994, and was appointed as Capital Cities/ABC senior vice president in March 1993 and executive vice president in July 1993.[21] In 1994, Iger was named president and chief operating officer of ABC's corporate parent, Capital Cities/ABC.[22]

The Walt Disney Company

In 1995,[23] The Walt Disney Company purchased Capital Cities/ABC and renamed it ABC, Inc., where Iger remained president until 1999.[2]

On February 25, 1999, Disney named Iger the president of Walt Disney International, the business unit that oversees Disney's international operations, as well as chairman of the ABC Group, removing him from day-to-day authority at ABC. Disney called the change a promotion for Iger.[24]

Disney named Iger the president and chief operating officer (COO) on January 24, 2000, making him Disney's No. 2 executive under chairman and CEO, Michael Eisner. Disney had been without a separate president since Eisner assumed the role following the departure of Michael Ovitz in 1997, after sixteen months at Disney.[25]

As a result of a successful effort by Roy E. Disney to shake up the management of the company, Disney began a search for the next CEO to replace Eisner. On March 13, 2005, Disney announced that Iger would succeed Michael Eisner as CEO, and Iger was placed in charge of day-to-day operations, though Eisner held the title of CEO until he resigned on September 30, 2005.[26] One of Iger's first major decisions as CEO was to reassign Disney's chief strategic officer, Peter Murphy, and disband the company's Strategic Planning division.[27] Prior to Iger being named CEO, board members Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold began a campaign called "save Disney" against Eisner.[28] In July 2005, Disney and Gold dropped the campaign and agreed to work with Iger.[29]

On January 24, 2006, under Iger's leadership, Disney announced it would acquire Pixar for $7.4 billion in an all-stock transaction.[30] In the same year, Iger also re-acquired the rights to Walt Disney's first star, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, from NBCUniversal by releasing sportscaster Al Michaels from ABC Sports to NBC Sports.[31]

Also in 2006, Roy E. Disney issued this statement regarding Iger:

Animation has always been the heart and soul of The Walt Disney Company, and it is wonderful to see Bob Iger and the company embrace that heritage by bringing the outstanding animation talent of the Pixar team back into the fold. This clearly solidifies The Walt Disney Company's position as the dominant leader in motion picture animation and we applaud and support Bob Iger's vision.[32]

In August 2009, Iger spearheaded negotiations that led Disney to acquire Marvel Entertainment and its associated assets for $4 billion. As of August 2014, Disney has recouped over $4 billion at the box office through the Marvel movies.[33] On October 7, 2011, Disney announced that Iger would become chairman of the board, following John Pepper's retirement from the board in March 2012.[34] On Tuesday November 15, 2011, Apple, Inc., led by CEO Tim Cook, named Iger to its board of directors. Iger was responsible for making Steve Jobs Disney's largest shareholder by its acquisition of Pixar.[35]

In October 2012, Iger signed a deal with film producer George Lucas to purchase Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4 billion following several months of negotiations. As a result, Disney acquired the rights to the Star Wars multimedia franchise and Indiana Jones.[36] Following its release on December 18, 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed over $2 billion at the box office. In March 2016, Iger announced that the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort would open its doors on June 16, 2016.[37] In May 2016, Iger wrote in a Facebook post claiming that Disney has hired 11,000 new employees in the past decade at Disneyland, and 18,000 in the past decade. Iger specifically targeted Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders, asking him how much he has contributed to job growth.[38]

Iger's contract as Disney's chairman and CEO was originally planned to run until June 30, 2018;[39][40] however, in March 2017, Disney announced that it was extending Iger's term to July 2, 2019, and said he would serve as a consultant for the following three years.[41][42] In December 2017, Disney extended Iger's contract through 2021.[43]

In July 2018, under Iger's leadership, Disney and 21st Century Fox shareholders approved a deal to allow Disney to purchase Fox assets.[44] The deal was finalized in March 2019.[45]

In April 2019, it was announced that Iger will depart from his position as CEO and chairman of Disney when his contract expires in 2021.[46][47] Iger resigned from Apple's board of directors on September 10, 2019, in order to avoid a conflict of interest as Disney and Apple prepare to launch competing streaming services Disney+ and Apple TV+.[48][49]

In September 2019, Iger released a memoir titled The Ride of a Lifetime[50] which, in part, focuses on Iger's years-long efforts to open Shanghai Disneyland Park; overall, he traveled to China 40 times over 18 years for the project.[9]

On February 25, 2020, Iger stepped down from CEO of the company, stating "With the successful launch of Disney's direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO."[3][51] In April 2020, however, Iger resumed operational duties of the company as executive chairman to help the company through the COVID-19 pandemic.[4]

In October of 2020, he became a director of massively funded dairy replacement startup Perfect Day.[52]

Handling of sexual assault allegations against Disney employees

In 2019, Vanity Fair reported that actress Paz de la Huerta added Bob Iger to her lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein over allegations of rape, claiming he and previous CEO, Michael Eisner, "Made a series of decisions that allowed a range of actions by Harvey Weinstein that unacceptably harmed certain employees..."[53] Disney denied any knowledge of misconduct or settlements with victims during Weinstein's run at Miramax from 1993 to 2005.[54]

Variety reported that Bob Iger knew about a 2010 Oscar party where Pixar Chief, John Lasseter, was seen making out with a junior staffer. Sources told Variety that the executive's behavior around young women has been known within the company since the 1990s. Variety quoted one anonymous source as saying, ""They've known for a long time," the source said. "It has gone all the way to the top. I know personally that Bob was aware. ... Everybody was aware. They just didn't do anything about it." Disney declined comment for the article.[54] Further reported in the article is a quote from Amid Amidi, publisher of Cartoon Brew, that "This is not one guy going around acting inappropriately. This is one guy enabled by a massive corporate structure to act inappropriately."[54]

Personal life

Iger has been married twice. His first marriage to Kathleen Susan Iger ended in divorce.[55] They have two daughters.

In 1995, Iger married journalist Willow Bay in an interfaith Jewish and Roman Catholic service in Bridgehampton, New York.[56] They have two children: Robert Maxwell "Max" Iger (born 1998) and William Iger (born 2002).

Iger has been noted for his kindness. David Geffen said "I have never heard one person say a bad thing about him and I have never seen him be mean".[9]

Iger co-chaired a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign on August 22, 2016.[57] He was named to President-elect Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum on December 2, 2016.[58] He resigned from President Trump's Advisory Council on June 1, 2017 after President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.[59]

In 2016, Iger switched his party registration from Democratic to independent (no party affiliation).[1]

Accolades and recognition

In June 2012, Steven Spielberg, noted director and founder of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, presented Iger with the Ambassador for Humanity Award. Iger was recognized for his support of the Institute's work, his longtime philanthropy, and his leadership role in corporate citizenship.[60][61] Iger was presented with The Milestone Award from the Producers Guild of America (PGA) in 2014. The award is the PGA's highest recognition for an individual or team who has made contributions to entertainment.[62]

In May 2015, Iger was named to the 25th Annual Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.[16] In October 2015, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) inducted Iger into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. He was selected by members of TIA in recognition of his contributions to the industry, and the impact his work has had on the lives of children worldwide.[63]

In December 2019, Iger was named by Time as their Businessperson of the Year.[64][65] In 2020, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.[66]


  • Iger, Robert (September 23, 2019). The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Penguin Random House. ISBN 9780399592096. OCLC 1111242203.


  1. ^ a b Rutenberg, Jim (October 8, 2017). "For Disney's Iger, an Unlikely Political Turn". New York Times. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Newcomb, Horace, ed. (2004). Encyclopedia of Television (2nd ed.). Routledge. p. 1168. ISBN 978-1579583941.
  3. ^ a b Mucha, Zeina; Singer, Lowell (February 25, 2020). "Bob Chapek Named Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company". The Walt Disney Company.
  4. ^ a b Smith, Ben (April 13, 2020). "Bob Iger Thought He Was Leaving on Top. Now, He's Fighting for Disney's Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ "Bob Iger Talks Live Streaming for Disney's Channels". Jewish Business News. February 5, 2015. Archived from the original on August 6, 2016.
  6. ^ Brook, Vincent (December 15, 2016). From Shtetl to Stardom: Jews and Hollywood: Chapter 1: Still an Empire of Their Own: How Jews Remain Atop a Reinvented Hollywood. Purdue University Press. p. 15. ISBN 9781557537638.
  7. ^ a b "Arthur L. Iger". New York City / Long Island: (Death notice) Newsday. May 25, 2010. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ "Miriam A. Iger". New York City / Long Island: (Death notice) Newsday. March 13, 2013. Archived from the original on September 10, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Dowd, Maureen (September 22, 2019). "The Slow-Burning Success of Disney's Bob Iger". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ Robert Iger, interviewed by Christiane Amanpour on PBS's Amanpour & Co., September 30, 2019, re-aired November 30, 2019.
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  20. ^ Carter, Bill (March 24, 1989). "ABC Names Its President of Entertainment". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017.
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  29. ^ Gentile, Gary (July 9, 2005). "Roy Disney, Company Resolve Their Disputes". ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018.
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  31. ^ "An excerpt from former ESPN president George Bodenheimer's book". Retrieved 2018.
  32. ^ "Disney Forum (TBA) : News". Archived from the original on December 24, 2010.
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  35. ^ "Disney Chief Bob Iger Joins Apple Board". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018.
  36. ^ Leonard, Devin (March 8, 2013). "How Disney Bought Lucasfilm--and Its Plans for Star Wars". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2016.
  37. ^ Miller, David (March 8, 2016). "Disney's Bob Iger discusses Shanghai resort, 'Star Wars' and ESPN at media conference". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016.
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  39. ^ Graser, Marc (October 2, 2014). "Bob Iger to Remain Disney Chief through 2018". Variety. Retrieved 2014.
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  53. ^ Bradley, Laura. "Disney, Bob Iger Added to Paz de la Huerta's Harvey Weinstein Lawsuit". Vanity Fair.
  54. ^ a b c Lopez, Gene Maddaus, Ricardo; Maddaus, Gene; Lopez, Ricardo (November 28, 2017). "Disney Faces Daunting Questions in Wake of John Lasseter, Harvey Weinstein Scandals".
  55. ^ "Kathleen Iger and Jarrod Cushing". The New York Times. September 25, 2005.
  56. ^ "Willow Bay And Robert Iger". The New York Times. October 8, 1995. Retrieved 2014.
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  59. ^ Stedman, Alex; Johnson, Ted (June 1, 2017). "Disney CEO Bob Iger Resigns From Trump's Advisory Council Over Paris Accord Decision". Variety. Retrieved 2017.
  60. ^ "Steven Spielberg and USC Shoah Foundation Institute honor Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company". USC Shoah Foundation. June 25, 2013.
  61. ^ "Disney's Robert A. Iger Accepts the 2012 Ambassador for Humanity Award". USC Shoah Foundation Institute. June 6, 2012. Retrieved 2016.
  62. ^ "PGA Honors Bob Iger with the 2014 Milestone Award - Producers Guild of America". Retrieved 2017.
  63. ^ "Toy Industry Association (TIA) Press Release". October 14, 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  64. ^ Buscombe, Belinda (December 11, 2019). "Bob Iger Is Time 2019 Businessperson of the Year". Time. Retrieved 2019.
  65. ^ "Just Announced: Bob Iger Is TIME's 2019 Businessperson of the Year". December 11, 2019.
  66. ^ Hipes, Patrick (December 3, 2019). "TV Academy Hall Of Fame Adding Bob Iger, Geraldine Laybourne, Seth MacFarlane, Jay Sandrich & Cicely Tyson". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 29, 2020. Retrieved 2019.

External links

Media related to Bob Iger at Wikimedia Commons

{{succession box
Business positions
Preceded by
Brandon Stoddard
President of ABC Entertainment
Succeeded by
Ted Harbert
Preceded by
(Previously Michael Ovitz)
President of The Walt Disney Company
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Michael Eisner
CEO of The Walt Disney Company
Succeeded by
Bob Chapek
Preceded by
John E. Pepper, Jr.
Chairman of The Walt Disney Company
New title Executive Chairman of The Walt Disney Company

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