For the first time in Walt Disney’s 98-year history, a woman has been appointed as Chairman.
Susan Arnold, who has served on the Disney board of directors for 14 years, will take over as CEO at the end of the year. She previously worked for the Carlyle Group, a global investment corporation. Mr Iger, who managed Disney for 15 years until stepping down in 2020, will depart at the end of the month.
Ms Susan Arnold said in a statement, “As I move into this new role as chairperson of the board, I look forward to continuing to serve Disney’s shareholders and working closely with CEO Bob Chapek as he builds upon the company’s century-long heritage of creative excellence and innovation.”
She has also worked for several of the country’s top firms in senior roles.
Ms Arnold has spent the last eight years as an executive with the Carlyle Group, having previously worked for consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble and fast-food behemoth McDonald’s.
“Susan is an enormously valued leader whose breadth of expertise, unshakable honesty, and expert judgement has benefited the company since she first joined the Board in 2007,” Mr Iger stated.
Significant firms are moving away from management structures in which the chief executive and chairperson positions are held by the same person, following criticism from corporate governance experts, investors, and, in some cases, authorities.
Mr Iger’s resignation signals the end of an era at Disney, where he has worked as an executive since 1996.
During his tenure as CEO, Disney accomplished many big acquisitions, including Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox. In 2016, the company opened its first theme park and resort in mainland China.
Among the Disney leaders who have stated their intention to leave by the end of the year are Alan Horn, president and chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television, Gary Marsh, and company general counsel Alan Braverman.