Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger said on Wednesday that he would “definitely” step down in 2026 when his current contract runs out.
Iger said that the succession process is “robust,” according to CNBC reporter Alex Sherman.
Iger rejoined Disney a little more than a year ago after the media giant ousted his hand-picked successor, Bob Chapek. Iger was brought in to right the ship, but the company’s problems have compounded in the last few months. The company has dealt with several box office disappointments, including this past weekend’s deflated debut of animated film Wish, which comes on top of poor response to The Marvels. He’s also under pressure by activist investor Nelson Peltz, who has called for more drastic improvement.
Iger himself created a whirlwind of speculation by noting in a July interview with CNBC that he didn’t think some of the networks were core to Disney, included ESPN. The comment kicked off chatter about potential deals, with Allen Media Group, which owns Local Now, several local broadcasters, and The Weather Channel, making an unsolicited bid for the ABC Network and its cable channels. He told employees on Tuesday during a virtual town hall meeting that ABC and ESPN aren’t for sale, and reiterated the sentiment on Wednesday at the Dealbook conference.
Iger said that the legacy assets weren’t for sale, but that “we’re constantly evaluating” their fit, Sherman tweeted.
One deal Disney is pursuing is the acquisition of Comcast’s one-third stake in Hulu, which is expected to close shortly. Iger said he set up a “rigorous” process to determine if he should buy the rest of Hulu or sell it back, but opted to take full control. The company plans to offer an app that combines Disney+ and Hulu as early as next month.