Disney CEO Bob Iger has certainly built up quite a legacy for himself at The Walt Disney Company since taking on the role in 2005. In just a little over a decade he’s created and maintained a steady financial income for the company while fixing many lackluster areas of the studio, including the company’s animated department, created strong income and expansions in theme parks, and made Disney’s live-action department profitable again. He’s also been the driving force behind Disney’s billion dollar acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm.
That’s why it’ll be tough for Disney to bid farewell to Iger when his contract (finally?) expires in 2018 after having extended it already twice from the persuasion of Disney stockholders and board members. Now with his departure just a year and a half away and no successor in sight, particularly after the departure of COO Tom Staggs last year, it seems likely Iger might just extend his contract one more time. Iger certainly had a large mix of hits and misses within his time, but there’s certainly no doubting that Disney has soared with him at the helm, and so today we’ll be looking at four reasons why we think it would be best for Iger to extend his contract once more, rather than finding an outsider to keep the company afloat.
Bob Iger’s Leadership Made Disney Profitable Again:
Bob Iger certainly has a big mix of films creatively, but if there’s anything that he’s showed his significance in, it was in bringing money back to The Walt Disney Studios, and his leadership led to recent blockbusters like The Jungle Book, Zootopia and Rogue One, all created under his direct focus on making the studio profitable once again. When Iger took on the role as CEO in 2005, Disney had come off from a rough point under Michael Eisner, who like Iger saved the company from near-bankruptcy and re-instated creativity at the company. However, nearing the end of Eisner’s regime, the company began to turn into turmoil as tensions grew between Disney and Pixar, ending their agreement before parting ways and the studio’s animation department rolling out one misfire after another. Under Iger’s leadership, the relationship between Pixar and Disney quickly healed, leading to the purchase of the studio and securing the legacy of their films. In addition, Iger learned how to use the creative leadership to save Disney’s main source of income and fix Walt Disney Animation Studios, both in profit and creativity, and now, the studio is thriving with hits like Tangled, Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, Zootopia and Big Hero 6.
It’s difficult to say where creative leadership might go without Iger at the forefront, but history has proven that the WDAS can only strive under great leadership and ideas. Therefore, until a worthy successor comes into place, it’ll be up to Iger to ensure the WDAS can stay as strong as it is.
Keeping the Company Afloat:
Should Iger leave Disney scrambling to find a new successor, likely an outsider, it’s likely that Disney would go through a large shift that will lead to a large mess of uncertainty, a shift in film quality, and a general alternative focus on the studio and its legacy. Despite the fact that Iger has had a few misses and a few questionable decisions, having Iger continue to keep Disney strong and profitable would be the ultimate best move until Disney can find someone who can continue to steer the ship and keep it afloat going forward.
Quality and Creativity Continue to Drive Iger’s Time at the Company:
If there’s anything arguably that has improved in the Iger era, it’s that quality of the film under the new leadership has drastically improved, both in animation and in live action (non-withstanding films from Marvel and Lucasfilm, which have also provided positive results). While it was under Iger’s time that Disney began remaking almost all of their previous animated films, the quality of these films have been all but nothing short of fantastic and creativity continues to dominate these films in new ways in technology and in storytelling. Creativity is one of the greatest driving factors in the prosperous animation department and while Pixar is a bit of a mixed bag these days, the creativity still lives on through works like Inside Out and Coco. Should Iger stay on for another few years, the groundwork would be laid for more creative projects and ensure the quality is as strong as it can be.
Fixing the Problems of Iger’s Era:
Not all of what Bob Iger did for the company remains strong, but time and again he’s often proven that he himself could fix the problems that came out of his leadership. For example, there was the initially disastrous billion-dollar FastPass+ system which rolled out at Walt Disney World in 2014, but with some time and trial and error, the system has since fixed itself to be a wonderfully impressive and smooth operating system that works wondrously. Certainly, not everything to come from Iger has been excellent, but he shows that sometimes the only one who can fix that is Bob Iger himself.
Whether it be 2018 or some other date down the line, the inevitable truth remains that one day Bob Iger will leave and Disney will likely go through a large transition once that fateful day comes. What do you think? Would you like to see Bob Iger extend his contract once again until Disney can find a successor, or would you finally like to see somebody else take over?