Disney extends CEO Bob Chapek’s contract by three years

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Bob Chapek, Disney
Jeff Gritchen | MediaNews Group | Orange County Register via Getty Images

Disney has extended CEO Bob Chapek’s contract for three years, the company announced Tuesday.

Chapek’s contract was set to expire in February next year, three years after he unexpectedly took the reins from Bob Iger. The board, which met Tuesday in Florida, voted unanimously to extend Chapek’s tenure to July 2025.

“Disney was dealt a tough hand by the pandemic, yet with Bob at the helm, our businesses — from parks to streaming — not only weathered the storm, but emerged in a position of strength,” said Susan Arnold, chairman of the board, in a statement Tuesday.

She added: “In this important time of growth and transformation, the Board is committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it is on today, and Bob’s leadership is key to achieving that goal. Bob is the right leader at the right time for The Walt Disney Company, and the Board has full confidence in him and his leadership team.”

Chapek has experienced his share of difficulties during his so-far brief tenure. Disney’s stock, which was unchanged in after-hours trading, is down about 38% this year as of Tuesday’s close.

Chapek was also at the center of a dispute between Disney and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over comments made about the state’s HB 1557 law, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The feud led DeSantis to rally Republican legislators to repeal Disney’s Reedy Creek special district, which it has held for decades.

Earlier this month, Chapek made headlines for firing Peter Rice, Disney’s most senior television content executive. The board said at the time that Chapek had its full support.

The timing of Disney’s transition from Iger to Chapek came just weeks before the coronavirus pandemic forced different facets of the entertainment industry to shutter, including movie theaters and theme parks.

Without revenue from these divisions, Chapek rallied around the company’s fledgling streaming service Disney+. Success of shows like “The Mandalorian” had made the platform popular with consumers, and Chapek held fast to the company’s goal of reaching 230 million to 260 million Disney+ subscribers by 2024.

As of the end of Disney’s fiscal second quarter, the service had more than 137.7 million subscribers.

Chapek, 63, has worked for the Walt Disney Company for nearly 30 years and is its seventh CEO. Previously, he was the chairman of Disney’s parks, experiences and products division.

CNBC’s Alex Sherman contributed to this report.

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