Disney Enlists Former Leaders to Guide CEO Bob Iger

Former Disney Leaders, Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, who were once considered potential successors to Bob Iger during his initial tenure as CEO, have returned to the company as advisers.

They have been brought on board to offer guidance to Iger on managing Disney’s legacy television businesses, including ESPN. This development comes shortly after the company’s board extended Iger’s contract for an additional two years, raising questions about the succession planning process at Disney.

Mayer and Staggs were highly regarded by Wall Street while they were at Disney, but they left when their prospects for the CEO position diminished.

Staggs held various positions at Disney, including Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Head of Theme Parks. Mayer played a crucial role in Wal Disney streaming strategy and worked closely with Bob Iger on several acquisitions. After the successful launch of Disney+, Mayer was considered a likely candidate to succeed Iger. However, to the surprise of many, Bob Chapek was chosen as the company’s CEO instead.

Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs

Chapek’s departure last November led to Iger’s return for what was initially supposed to be a two-year term. However, this month, the board granted Iger a two-year extension and significant potential bonuses. Iger has postponed his retirement multiple times throughout his 15-year tenure as chief executive, and under the new agreement, he will step down in 2026 at the age of 75.

According to Financial Times, Mayer and Staggs will collaborate with ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro to explore strategic options for the sports channel. ESPN, which was once a major profit generator for Disney, has faced a decline along with other US cable networks. Iger has expressed the desire to find a strategic partner for the group.

Finding a suitable successor remains a top priority for Iger and the Disney board.

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