Changing the top position at Walt Disney Company is quite a big deal. The chief executive officer position at the company is one that only a little over a handful of people have ever had.
The first CEO of Disney was of course a Disney, but it wasn’t Walt it was his brother Roy. He was named CEO of Disney in 1929 and ran the organization until 1971.
The next Disney CEO was Donn Tatum, who had been with the organization for 25 years and then was the CEO from 1971 to 1976. The next CEO was E. Cardon Walker who started his career with Disney in the mailroom and worked his way up. Walker took over as CEO from 1976 until 1983.
The next Disney CEO was Ron Miller, who was Walt Disney’s son in-law. He only served as CEO from 1983 until 1984. Miller was a former NFL player, and some thought that he wasn’t qualified to be the CEO.
Michael Eisner was Miller’s replacement, who served from 1984 until 2005. Bob Iger began his time as CEO in 2005 and just retired in 2020.
Bob Chapek was Iger’s replacement and served as CEO only for a short time before being ousted. Chapek’s time as CEO started in 2020, clearly a very interesting time to start a new position that would be greatly impacted by the pandemic. In November 2022, Iger returned to replace his successor Chapek. The change was quite abrupt as far as CEO changes go in the Disney universe and caused a lot of confusion about what was happening at the top of Disney’s leadership.
Direct Your Mouse Ears this Way
Iger aware that the change in CEO's has maybe made some fans and or employees a little uneasy, wants to set the tone and delivered a message filled with hope to Disney fans. In his letter to Disney fans, Iger wrote:
"As we approach the end of 2022, I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to the biggest Disney fans in the world – all of you." Iger continued, "Disney is fortunate to have the most devoted and enthusiastic fans, and I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I visited Disneyland Resort and attended the Candlelight Processional. It was invigorating to be surrounded by so many guests who make what we do possible. We love your passion for our company and your enthusiasm for what we create, and we will continue to do our best to exceed your highest expectations."
"As you know, next year Disney will mark its 100th anniversary. We are immeasurably grateful to the generations of fans all around the globe who have invited our stories and characters into their lives, and we look forward to celebrating the groundbreaking moments, the cherished memories, and the creative visionaries that made Disney the most beloved name in entertainment over the past century," wrote Iger.
Iger concluded with, "During the coming year, D23 will launch a slate of exciting events to mark this historic milestone. Looking at all the opportunities ahead, I can honestly say there has never been a better time to be a Disney fan. It is an extraordinary privilege to lead this remarkable company again, and I am so grateful for your continued passion for Disney. On behalf of all of us at The Walt Disney Company, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a very happy and prosperous New Year."
What's to Come
Iger wrote about what is to come for Disney, including the upcoming centennial celebration, and spoke with emotion and excitement about Disney's future to D23 members. D23 is the official fun club for Disney. The club started in 2009 and was founded by Bob Iger. The name comes from two parts, the 'D' is obviously for Disney, and the 23 is for the year Disney started 1923, meaning that this coming year, 2023 is a time for some pretty big celebrations for Disney as a whole.
Walt Disney World just celebrated its 50-year Anniversary, and much of the celebration will be over by March 2023. Disney will host celebrations across all of its enterprises and members of D23 will have special access to some of these events. Disney fans can become D23 members through a free general plan, or a Gold Individual Plan for $99 a year or a Gold Duo Plan for two members at $129 a year. Fans must have at least a Gold membership to get access to Gold Member events.