Oh to be a fly on the wall for what is being called (at least in this scoop from The Hollywood Reporter) a “Bob swap.” That is, Disney’s ousting of CEO Bob Chapek to bring back its former CEO, Bob Iger. This news was a jaw-dropper for those of us outside the company, but apparently, it was just as shocking for those on the inside—even those who were never a fan of Chapek to begin with.
One THR source who fits that description reflects, “He didn’t get to say goodbye or say, ‘I’ve decided to step down.’ I bet you it broke Chapek’s record of firing [Peter] Rice in seven minutes,” they say in reference to one of the more controversial moves of the ex-CEO’s tenure. “They called [Chapek] and said, ‘You’re out. Our lawyers will call your lawyers.’ No statement from him, no comment from him, no grace. It’s fucking insane.”
“As much as it’s a wow, in a weird way it felt inevitable,” says an additional source, while another celebrates: “I’m happy he’s going to revert everything back to the way it was. As though Chapek was never there.”
Yes, folks have clearly chosen sides in the Battle of the Bobs, as it has been called (by us). THR reports that a recent earnings call was the nail in Chapek’s coffin, and two “high level sources” complained about being “blindsided” by Chapek’s memo about layoffs and cutting costs, which left them “scrambling to figure out what they could still spend money on and what was now off limits.”
Iger is seen as the person who can right the ship, but not everyone sounds especially pleased about his return. “Bob Iger messed up succession at Disney for 15 years. When he finally did it, it was a colossal mess-up,” a “Disney veteran” source tells the outlet. “It’s extraordinary that [Iger] is the guy they chose to come back. It speaks to his reputation and the board’s lack of options and ineptitude. How could they have gotten to this place? How could this happen?”