Author Topic: In-Depth With Disney CEO Bob Iger  (Read 1639 times)

Offline imchills

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In-Depth With Disney CEO Bob Iger
« on: June 27, 2016, 02:24:26 pm »
In an exclusive sit-down, the exec who tops the THR 100 also talks 'Indiana Jones,' ESPN and cable's future, what happened with heir apparent Tom Staggs and who will succeed him after he leaves in 2018.
Bob Iger is showing off pictures he recently took of food. "We've got a Szechuan chicken burger, a Peking duck pizza shaped in a Mickey head," he says in a demeanor one might call "CEO giddy," as animated as one of the most polished leaders in corporate America gets. "There's something called siu mai dumplings that are Shanghainese they're tremendous!" Seated in a conference room adjacent to his office at the Walt Disney Co. headquarters in Burbank, Iger scrolls his iPad through dozens of photos shot during one of his twice-monthly visits to the new Shanghai Disney theme park. What about a churro stand? "Believe it or not, yes," he says. "I've tasted all the food at the park. Except I haven't tasted the turkey legs yet."

Iger, 65, is chatting with The Hollywood Reporter, which has named him the most powerful person in entertainment for his shrewd management of the world's largest media company. This is just a few days before he took off on his most important trip to China, to christen the $5.5 billion park with leaders of the country's communist party. Tragically, the day before the opening ceremony, Iger received news that 2-year-old Lane Graves was snatched and killed by an alligator in a lagoon at Disney's Orlando resort. The horror hit the CEO and father of four (including two sons with wife Willow Bay) especially hard he personally called the boy's parents and dispatched his parks chief to Orlando and illustrated the diverse challenges thrown at the New York native in his role as business executive, brand statesman and manager of the kind of bizarre news events that become amplified because of their association with Disney. "Yes, all CEOs have to deal with investors and to some extent the press, but we get a lot more attention than any other company," he says before the incident, which occurred a day after Disney donated $1 million to victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando (Disney employed two of the 49 killed).

In his 11 years atop Disney, Iger has become the most effective media CEO of his generation. When he was named to the post in March 2005 (a controversial choice, given his lack of film or parks experience), the former weatherman and longtime ABC executive inherited a company whose storied animation studio was in disarray and its stock price at $27.70 a share. Thanks to a management style colleagues describe as respectful yet decisive, growth initiatives at its cable channels and a series of big-ticket deals for Pixar Animation Studios ($7.4 billion), Marvel Entertainment ($4 billion) and Lucasfilm ($4.1 billion), Disney stock closed June 20 at $99.57. The company's market cap of $163 billion helped earn Iger $46.5 million in 2015, among the top 10 paydays of U.S. CEOs. During his tenure, he has proved himself equally adept at communicating with business leaders (mending Disney's relationship with Steve Jobs, which led to the Pixar deal), the creative community and a board that includes heavyweights Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Twitter's Jack Dorsey. The Disney film studio has succeeded in the franchise business like none of its rivals (Finding Dory opened to $136 million during the June 17 weekend, a record for an animated film), and its Media Networks division, which includes cable TV, generated nearly $8 billion in operating income in 2015 (four times the film division and half the company's profits). Just last Sunday, Game 7 of the NBA Finals delivered more than 30 million viewers to ABC, a record for the network's basketball coverage.