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Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek was ousted after CFO worked behind his back, report says

Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek was reportedly ousted following the actions of the company’s CFO, who believed he was “incompetent.”

In a new report, The Wall Street Journal said that after a boardroom clash with CFO Christine McCarthy, a battle with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the loss of billions of dollars in Disney̵[ads1]7;s streaming division, the executive lost support from fans. , managers and the company’s board.

According to the publication, former Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger undermined his successor and it was “well established” that he was “dissatisfied with Chapek,” the report said, adding that he told confidants that Chapek “did a terrible job and that he was incompetent.”

While Iger left Disney last year after more than a decade there, the paper said a Nov. 16 phone call from McCarthy, who was “fed up with Mr. Chapek’s performance and leadership,” proved instrumental in putting Iger back on top.


Two days later, according to The Wall Street Journal, chairman Susan Arnold offered him the job.

Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek was ousted after CFO worked behind his back, report says

Bob Chapek attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (David Livingston/Getty Images/Getty Images)

“This account of how Mr. Iger succeeded his successor is based on first-hand accounts from current and former Disney executives, as well as people close to the company familiar with the events, actions and conversations that led to Mr. Chapek’s ouster,” it said.

Reporting by The New York Times described the phone call from Arnold to Iger, citing three people with knowledge of the matter, and the Financial Times said in November that McCarthy had approached the board to complain about Chapek’s management.

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In June, the board unanimously renewed Chapek’s contract through 2024, but in late September, The Wall Street Journal’s report said McCarthy told executives that Disney would likely “miss analysts’ expectations for revenue and profit in the coming quarter” and Chapek reportedly complained to colleagues that McCarthy had provided figures that had not previously been discussed,” and left her out of a board meeting in October.

On 11 November, he had issued a memo on freezing new hires.

Christine McCarthy

Christine McCarthy, senior executive vice president and chief financial officer of The Walt Disney Co., listens during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., on April 29, 2019. (Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images)


After two years on the job, during one of the most challenging periods in the company’s history, the report said Chapek was out on Nov. 20, and Iger — who had chosen Chapek as his successor — was back on the field.

“The board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely positioned to lead the company through this crucial period,” Chairman Susan Arnold said in a statement.

“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney throughout his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” she said.

Bob Iger

Robert Iger November 18, 2021 in Los Angeles. (Rich Fury/Getty Images/Getty Images)

“It is with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility — and, I must admit, a little astonishment — that I am writing to you this evening with the news that I am returning to The Walt Disney Company as CEO,” Iger wrote. in an email to employees.

He would earn a base salary of $1 million, back for two years.

“Disney and its inimitable brands and franchises hold a special place in the hearts of so many people around the world — especially in the hearts of our employees, whose dedication to this company and its mission is an inspiration,” the reinstated CEO said in a statement from the company. “I am deeply honored to be asked to once again lead this remarkable team, with a clear mission focused on creative excellence to inspire generations through unparalleled, bold storytelling.”


Iger signaled that the company would begin implementing organizational and operational changes.

“It is my intention to restructure things in a way that honors and respects creativity as the heart and soul of who we are,” he later told employees.

FOX Business’ request for comment from Disney was not immediately returned at the time of publication.

FOX Business’ Eric Revell, Peter Aitken and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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