Disney Moves Bob Chapek to Replace Tom Staggs as Parks Chairman

February 23, 2015, 1:04 PM · Following its decision to name Disney Parks Chairman Tom Staggs as Chief Operating Officer (and, thus, heir apparent to CEO Bob Iger), the Walt Disney Company today announced that it has designated Disney Consumer Products President Bob Chapek to replace Staggs as the chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts.

Bob Chapek
Bob Chapek. Photo courtesy Disney

Chapek takes over the management of the Disney Parks immediately.

Prior to heading up the consumer products division, Chapek worked as president of distribution for the Walt Disney Studios, and before that, as president of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

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Replies (20)

February 23, 2015 at 3:22 PM · What's your take on this hire, Robert? Good move? Bad move? Yet-to-be-determined move?
February 23, 2015 at 3:47 PM · Wall Street analysts are bullish on the choice, noting that theme parks are largely an outdoor activity and Mr. Chapek's persona lends one to belive that sales of sunscreen will likely increase dramatically.
February 23, 2015 at 5:59 PM · Ahhhh
February 23, 2015 at 5:52 PM · Sounds like he knows next to nothing about theme parks. Perfect. Maybe we can look forward to more shops in the parks?
February 23, 2015 at 7:04 PM · TH, would you say the task in front of Mr. Chapek is daunting, and perhaps even hair-raising?
February 23, 2015 at 7:10 PM · @THCreative and @Bigwig30 - I don't get it. Could you please explain your jokes in detail? I find it more humorous when people describe exactly why what they're saying is funny.
February 23, 2015 at 8:39 PM · We're not being funny, we're just a hair away from being flat out mean. And we should stop. Apologies to all involved and best of luck to Mr. Chapek was he assumes his new position in my dream job.
February 23, 2015 at 9:09 PM · James: Hair raising & a hair away. You're within a hair's breadth of being humorous....It's dangerous to attack the PC police.
February 23, 2015 at 9:40 PM · My take? Disney appears to be fond of moving its top executives laterally, so that they can gain experience in the many different operations of the company. (Remember how Staggs and Jay Rasulo swapped jobs?)

Obviously, coming from Consumer Products, Chapek will have some relevant experience to bring to the merchandise operations of the parks, as they sell a heckuva lot of Disney Consumer Products. But Chapek will face the challenge of maintaining the success of a division that's been bringing in massive profits and driving record attendance while facing unprecedented creative competition.

Iger and Staggs did not accomplish that by being reckless or foolish. Obviously, they see Chapek as having the ability to do this, and all I've heard about him (which, I'll admit, isn't much), is that Chapek is very much a Disney fan. Those are good signs, enough to buy him the benefit of reserved judgment.

February 24, 2015 at 12:32 AM · Merchandise operations? Exactly my point. His appointment is perfect if they want to turn the parks into giant malls with rides.
February 24, 2015 at 3:02 AM · Mr. Comeau writes: "His appointment is perfect if they want to turn the parks into giant malls with rides."

I respond: And how would you rate his appointment if "they" (the Walt Disney Company) does not want "to turn the parks into giant malls with rides?"

February 24, 2015 at 4:39 AM · I am not sure I was even that close to being humorous, Rob. And there is nothing funny about Mr. Chapek's job. If he wants to compete with Harry Potter he will have to build up a full head of steam, and will be harried from one part of the property to the other, asked to add new attractions, not cut old ones. Right?!

@TH and Sylvain, exactly what is wrong with giant malls filled with rides????

February 24, 2015 at 7:06 AM · Merchandising! Merchandising! Where the real money at the theme park is made.
February 24, 2015 at 8:40 AM · Kris V: You're right about that. The HP merch numbers created a huge spike in per guest spending at Universal Orlando. And it seems that Disney has recently taken a historical step back in merchandise by returning to their roots offering some diversified product like the Haunted Mansion & Cars merchandise, and getting away from the One Disney merchandise concept. Hopefully they will continue down that road.
February 24, 2015 at 9:08 AM · Great...another Disney Parks head whose background is in merchandise. Didn't we learn our lesson with Paul Pressler? Anyone?
February 24, 2015 at 9:33 AM · Why do people only think of rides and attractions?

You have to run the stores and restaurants in the park just like you have to run the ticket booths. Making hassle free customer transactions is the essense of running a theme parks. Enticing people to buy is a good thing.

February 24, 2015 at 12:02 PM · It's a question of emphasis and having your priorities straight. Putting merch ahead of attractions is putting the cart before the horse.
February 24, 2015 at 3:01 PM · I definitely understand why you guys are so worked up about this. But maybe you worry needlessly.
What I love so much about Disney is that they always know how to please people. So The only two scenarios where I think that Disney would turn their parks into "giant malls with rides" are if everyone suddenly decided for whatever reason that that's what should happen, or if they became that desperate. Besides, the Orlando resort kinda already has a big outdoor mall in the form of Downtown Disney...or Disney Springs...or whatever they're calling it now (I'm not quite sure).
February 24, 2015 at 7:11 PM · Mr. Comeau writes: "It's a question of emphasis and having your priorities straight. Putting merch ahead of attractions is putting the cart before the horse."

I Respond: Uh-huh ... And what does it say about the company's priorities that the former head of Disney Parks has been elevated to a position that makes him the heir apparent for CEO? And that the same guy is the person Mr. Chapek reports to?

February 25, 2015 at 5:11 AM · I like the direction the merchandise has been going in lately. It seems like someone who likes the Disney brand is making decisions about what products to develop and not just label slapping onto generic products. He had other non consumer product related positions before so it isn't like that is the only thing he is interested in. Maybe he will take the parks in a great direction as well.

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