Bob Iger will return to Walt Disney Co as the Chief Executive Officer less than a year after retiring, a surprise comeback that will coincide with the entertainment company’s attempt to boost profits and investor confidence. Iger, 71, who was previously the chief executive officer for fifteen years and retired as Chairman in 2021, has agreed to return as CEO for two more years effective immediately, Disney has said in a statement late on Sunday, November 21st. He will replace Bob Chapek, who took over as Disney CEO in 2020 at the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to park closures and global visitor restrictions.
With the announcement, Disney shares rose more than 9% in premarket US trading, valuing the company at about $182 billion. The Frankfurt-listed stock jumped as much as 10% in European trading on Monday, November 22nd, its best day in almost two years.
“Maybe the old hand on the tiller is what’s required,” said Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson as the company spent billions of dollars to compete with rival Netflix and seeks to revive its share price. The stock has dipped more than 40% this year, lagging the nearly 7% year-to-date drop in the broader Dow Jones Industrial Average. It lost almost a third of its value while Chapek was at the wheel.