Disney chief Bob Iger, who steered and expanded Hollywood’s most powerful entertainment conglomerate in his 14-year-tenure, officially stepped down as chief executive of the media company on Tuesday, Feb. 25. He was replaced by Bob Chapek, former head of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

Before Bob Iger handed over the reins to Chapek, he had served as chief executive of Disney from 2005 to February 2020. Previously, he already announced plans to retire but his departure date was pushed back due to Disney’s crucial projects and acquisitions in recent months.

Last year, Disney completed the $71-billion acquisition of Fox Entertainment assets. In November 2019, the media company also invested billions in Disney Plus, which has gained nearly 29 million paid subscribers in less than three months.

In his final years at the helm of Disney, Iger also oversaw three of the biggest and most lucrative acquisitions of the entertainment conglomerate, Marvel, Pixar, and Lucas Films.

Following Disney’s surprise announcement, the company’s shares plunged as much as 2.6 percent in after-hours trading. Iger’s departure announcement came as a huge surprise to those who follow Disney, especially since Iger’s latest contract with the company had just been extended through 2021 prior to the announcement.

In a statement on Tuesday, Iger said Disney’s recent acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets and launch of Disney Plus makes it high time for him to step down. “I felt that with the asset base in place and our strategy essentially deployed that I should be spending as much time as possible on essentially the creative side of our company,” he said.

Although Iger has already stepped aside as chief executive of Walt Disney Co., he will retain significant power over the company as he remains Disney’s executive chairman until the end of 2021 to direct the company’s creative endeavors. “I will continue to conduct the company’s creative endeavors while also leading the board,” said Iger. “I could not do that I fi had to run the company on a day to day basis,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bob Chapek joined Disney in 1993 and oversaw the opening of Disney’s park in Shanghai. In a statement, Disney board member Susan Arnold explained that his tremendous understanding of the breadth and depth of the company and appreciation for the special connection between Disney and its consumers makes him the perfect choice as Iger’s successor.

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