Shares of Walt Disney (DIS) - Get Report fell in premarket trading Wednesday after the entertainment conglomerate’s Robert Iger stepped down as chief executive and was succeeded by Bob Chapek, formerly chairman of Disney’s parks, experiences and products division.
Last year Iger, 69, said that he planned to step down in 2021. He becomes executive chairman of Walt Disney and will “direct the company’s creative endeavors,” the company said in a statement.
“With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of 21st Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Iger said in the company’s statement.
“I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the company’s creative endeavors.”
As for the decision to choose Chapek, Susan Arnold, independent lead director on the board, said the directors have been "actively engaged in succession planning for the past several years, and after consideration of internal and external candidates, we unanimously elected" Chapek as CEO.
Earlier this month, Walt Disney reported stronger-than-expected earnings for its fiscal first quarter. It reported that its new streaming service, Disney+, garnered 28.6 million subscribers through Feb. 3, up from 10 million in November, when the service began.
Walt Disney shares declined 1.76% in premarket trading to $125.94.