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Iger has no regrets about returning to Disney

Tan KW
Publish date: Thu, 30 Nov 2023, 11:25 AM
Tan KW
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NEW YORK: Walt Disney Co chief executive officer (CEO) Bob Iger has no regrets about returning to lead the company last year despite facing “myriad challenges”.

“I won’t say that it was easy, but I’ve never second-guessed the decision to come back, and being back still feels great,” Iger said at a town hall event for staffers moderated by ABC News anchor David Muir.

The event was held at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York, where Disney’s Aladdin Broadway show appears. It was designed to rally employees after a year that’s seen the company lay off some 8,000 workers to improve profitability.

Iger, who came back as CEO after the dismissal of his hand-picked successor Bob Chapek, said the company has emerged from a year of “fixing a lot of things” and will now return to “building again”.

The 72-year-old executive also reorganised the business to return more authority to division leaders like TV chief Dana Walden and ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro.

Pitaro said the company is working toward a 2025 launch of a direct-to-consumer version of ESPN.

“We are in the market right now doing research,” he said. “We’re looking at things like timing, things like price point.”

Iger has also suggested that the company may sell traditional TV networks like ABC, although Walden said those channels are critical components of the business because they can work in concert with the company’s Hulu and Disney+ streaming services.

“What we’ve discovered is that our linear channels are very deeply embedded in our streaming strategy,” she said, citing The Golden Bachelor, a reality show that aired on ABC and later on Hulu.

Theme Parks chief Josh D’Amaro flagged the recent announcement that the company intends to invest US$60bil in its resorts over the next 10 years.

“We’ve got so much space to play with,” D’Amaro said. “Disneyland, for example, is Walt’s original theme park. We still have enough room to build another Disneyland there if we choose to do that.”

 - Bloomberg

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