The WDC announced today that Bob Iger will stay on as chief executive and chairman of Walt Disney Co. until mid-2018, two years later than his previously planned retirement in 2016.
In addition, the WDC is expected to name a chief operating officer, who will likely be groomed as its next CEO, sometime in 2015, according to a person familiar with the situation. Iger has run Disney without a No. 2 executive since he took over in 2005.
Iger's contract extension maintains the same annual compensation terms as his existing contract. Iger, 63, will have the opportunity to earn a performance-based retention bonus if certain financial performance goals are met over a five-year period ending with the 2018 fiscal year.
"I’ve had the privilege of being the CEO of this great company for nine years and am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue through June 2018,” Iger said. “I’m very excited about what lies ahead, including the release of our ‘Star Wars’ films and the launch of Shanghai Disneyland, and I’m honored to continue working with our talented management team and the 175,000 dedicated people who make this company what it is today.”
"Mr. Iger’s vision and strategy for the company led to the successful acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, the resurgence of Disney animation, and the dramatic expansion of its parks and resorts around the world, positioning the company for continued long-term growth," Smith added. "Given Mr. Iger’s outstanding record to date, it is obvious that shareholders and the company will be best served by his continued leadership, which is why the Board of Directors has asked him to extend his contract for two years, to June 30, 2018. I am pleased to report that Mr. Iger has accepted. Disney has an incredibly strong senior management team, and the Board is confident in the leadership talent available for succession planning."
O-kay, so Iger is here to stay until 2018, why not. What does it mean? First, it could mean that no one was found yet to be a ( good ) WDC CEO once Iger will leave, which is probably the case. It could also mean that there is no way to have Shanghaî Disneyland open for late 2015, and there was no way Iger was going to miss the opening of what he probably considers his legacy. And in Iger legacy we also have the purchase of Star Wars - Episode 7 coming Dec 2015 if there, too, there is no delay, and the Avatar land which will open in 2017 at Animal Kingdom. By staying till 2018 he'll be able to enjoy the awaited openings, which to be honest, he fully deserves. But, more simply, Iger certainly enjoy the job and the board probably think there is no one else better than him for it. Now, if Iger before leaving in 2018 could add one more legacy, and do for Disneyland Paris what he did for DCA and HKDL, this would be great, isn't it?