Who will be Robert Iger's successor?

January 24, 2014, 10:38 PM

Current Chairman and CEO of the Disney empire has made it clear he will retire in 2016. This date precedes the launch of DAK Avatar and any Star Wars footprint in DHS. This begs the question,: Who will be his successor? For all of his critics, Michael Eisner held Disney's senior post for better than twenty years. Which by today's corporate standard is impressive. So who will follow Mr. Iger? Who will have the BRASS to run a multi-national model in an aggressive CONTENT market?

Replies (11)

January 24, 2014, 10:41 PM

My Choices:

Number 1: Jeffrey Katzenberg

Number 2: Peter Chernin

Number 3 Ben Sherwood

January 24, 2014, 11:43 PM

I thought it was going to be an internal choice, between Jay Rasulo and Tom Staggs. I don't know that Disney needs an Eisner-like external shake-up now. Not with Steve Burke (the most likely outsider) in full control of NBCU.

But if Disney wants to go outside, well, if nominated I suppose I would serve....

January 25, 2014, 12:25 AM

Shame on you TH! We need to keep Katzenberg as far away from Disney as possible. The man nearly screwed up many things, most notably Toy Story. Let him stay at Dreamworks where he can milk franchises dry with 20 sequels.

Maybe I'll reveal who I want to see as next CEO in the morning. Right now, I have to finish a novel for a major book club and maybe I'll watch some OWN before hitting the hay. #obvious

January 25, 2014, 4:16 AM

I believe that Disney will return to the Walt and Roy, or equally Wells and Eisner, way of operation. A creative and business head running the operation. So if I were to follow through on that, I would place Staggs in the CEO role with a Creative taking up the Chairman role. Disney has brought in a number of creatives through recent acquisitions so it could literally be anyone from Lasseter to Feige (Marvel). However, I have a hunch that it’s between Alan Horn and Kathleen Kennedy that will take over the creative side. If I had to bet, I would pick Kennedy based on Horn having already retired in the past, and people like Lasseter already working with a full timetable. Not to mention Kennedy is very close to Spielberg and many other high profile producers and directors in Hollywood.

As for Katzenberg, I think you undersell the man TH. He has built a multi-billion dollar business with a global presence. Sure Dreamworks is no Disney, but it’s narrow-minded to think that Katzenberg will simply leave the company he co-founded - and with animation, founded - to work at a company he adored 20 years ago.

Furthermore, I don’t believe Ben Sherwood is the man Disney wants or needs. Ever since Disney bought ABC, they’ve toyed with selling the News unit. Even as late as 2009, the company was believed to have mulled selling ABC. I think this is still coming, and Disney will instead focus on making great TV shows, such as the Defenders on Netflix (2016). Content is the key, and owning ABC doesn’t necessarily offer better opportunities to deliver cross-platform televisual content.

To wrap up, I think the successor will come from inside the company, with two leaders to maximise the potential of Disney. In this capacity, I believe that Staggs and Kennedy will jointly take the reigns in 2016.

Just to ask, is this topic allowed in WDW discussion? I know it focusses on the CEO, but I think it’s better suited to other.

January 25, 2014, 8:43 AM

Note to Mr. Partridge: That was an EXCEELENT post. I don't agree with everything you wrote but it was well-written and certainly indicative of your knowledge of the company.

And for the record the reason I bring up Katzenberg is because of his standing worldwide. Not just in entertainment but also politics.

January 25, 2014, 9:21 AM

John Lasseter

There is out of the box thinking!

Edited: January 25, 2014, 10:02 AM

The problem with Lasseter leading the company is his lack of business knowledge, and I presume, interest. What care should he have over new taxation laws in India or battling activist investors who want the annual dividend increased again. These kind of things affect the overall business and stop at the CEOs desk. Lasseter is a great leader within the creative fields at Disney. In his current capacity, Lasseter can greenlight and halt production across all animation projects, he has a pretty strong say in Imagineering and takes an active interest in most of Disney’s other creative fields - Disney Infinity as an example. Lasseter is probably the most senior creative at the company. I would say a promotion to the CEO role is more of a backward step for him. If anything he could operate in a Chairmanship position - remember Walt was Chairman with Roy the CEO - but again, that involves dealing with the board and the running of the company.

I like to think of Lasseter in a similar view to Jony Ive at Apple. Someone who yields a lot of power and control, but doesn’t hold any responsibility for the running of the company. They can provide the world with innovative and forward-thinking products, spending their time devoted to the creative process. Lasseter is a storyteller and Creative genius, who should continue to operate in his current capacity as the Chief Creative Officer of the company.

January 25, 2014, 2:25 PM

I'm in full agreement with what Jack had to say in regards to Lasseter. Creative people tend to become less than that when they are encumbered with responsibilities that see them staying too much within the straight and narrow. His faculties are best utilized in a creative capacity for the company.

I'm all for Staggs assuming the position. He seems to get it more so than your typical suit.

Edited: February 11, 2014, 11:14 AM

Since you folks cannot agree on who will be taking over as Disney new boss, I will throw my name into the hat… So it’s Mr. Emery for CEO…

As you know Disney board members are always on this site so I guess I am it….

Or how about Jim Crammer….

Or maybe Steve Jobs wife. (She is a huge shareholder).

How about Robert Niles?

February 11, 2014, 11:57 AM

Disney CEO Emery. That has a good ring to it.

February 11, 2014, 12:15 PM

Thanks Mr. Pastor….

Disney would not want me. I would make them build a nice coaster like Montu in Busch Gardens… And give all workers raises… And the Stock price would plummet….
Free Dole whips for all!!!

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