A new article by the Wall Street Journal sheds more light on the removal of Bob Chapek as CEO of Disney and the subsequent return of Bob Iger in what is the most complete account so far published on the crisis at Disney.
Much of the circumstances surrounding Chapek’s ousting were well known just days after Iger’s return, but this latest article reveals more about the role of CFO Christine McCarthy, the influence of Disney blogs and message boards, and the possibility of park’s boss Josh D’Amaro leaving the company.
Most notably, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy allegedly took matters into her own hands and directly called Iger about returning as CEO without speaking to the board. We had previously heard that McCarthy spearheaded the effort via Susan Arnold on the board, but this latest report underlines her direct role in Chapek’s removal.
“On Nov. 16, Ms. McCarthy took matters into her own hands. Without having confronted her boss or seeking board approval, she called Mr. Iger to gauge his interest in returning as CEO.”
On Friday, Nov. 18, Ms. Arnold called with her offer.
Referring to fans turning against the Walt Disney Company, the article suggests that Iger was very concerned about the Harris Poll Reputation report, with Disney dropping by two-tiers from an “Excellent” rating in 2019, to a “Good” rating in 2022.
“Even casual Disney theme-park fans blamed Mr. Chapek for changes they disliked. Park visitors posted videos on TikTok and Instagram, saying rides closed for repair were “Chapek’d.” “Bob Cheapek” became a meme on fan sites and message boards, referring to the CEO’s reputation for cost-cutting and higher prices.”
“Bloggers and social-media influencers amplified visitor complaints about rising ticket prices.”
The report goes on to say that in calls to Iger, senior Disney executives were concerned that studio chief Alan Bergman, and parks head Josh D’Amaro would quit the company. The company was failing its fans, its employees, and investors.
Head to the WSJ to read the complete account of “Bob Iger vs. Bob Chapek: Inside the Disney Coup.”