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NOT AS IT SEEMS

To say Disney had an eventful Tuesday would be like saying the American Revolution was just a little misunderstanding between two pals. For starters, the house of mouse lost its CEO Bob Iger, after 14 years at the helm. 

Iger stepped down suddenly on Tuesday, despite his initial plan to retire in 2021. He’d been with the company since 1992, led Disney’s $71.3B acquisition of 21st Century Fox in 2018, and most recently launched Disney+ to great fanfare among the 6-month to 3-year old crowd.

It’s not the first time Bob Iger’s changed plans, considering he’s already delayed his retirement four separate times. Just keeping the people on their toes, eh, Bobby? 

On the news, Disney share prices fell 2.5% after hours.

Next Bob up

Luckily for Disney, it’s got its own version of “the Bobs” with Bob Chapek ready to replace Iger. Chapek, a three-decade Disney vet, was most recently the head of the theme parks and consumer products. Hopefully, his successor didn’t leave him a death pit... In his tenure at theme parks his biggest achievement was launching Disney’s Shanghai park.

Speaking of Disneyland Shanghai...

A video surfaced highlighting its Shanghai and Hong Kong parks on lockdown, showing yet again the impact coronavirus has had on businesses operating in Southeast Asia. The good news? There are no lines for Chinese Space Mountain. Earlier this month, Disney said it was expecting a $175M hit to its bottom line due to park shutdowns.    

The logical next step? Go vegan, obviously.

In the US, the Mouseketeers aren’t as worried about coronavirus. At least not yet, anyway. So what are they working on? Fake meat. Disney announced that it would be working with Impossible Foods to expand plant-based options at its US-based parks and on cruise ships. The bad news? Cheeseburgers at the parks will be worth $30 now, up from the traditional $24 fare we’ve grown accustomed to. 

The bottom line ...

Something’s fishy here…

With the heavy lifting behind the launch of Disney+ and the closing of the Fox deal done, it’s odd that Bob #1 (Iger) would leave his post without enjoying the spoils of victory. Maybe China’s a bigger deal than we thought. 

Bob Chapek, on the other hand, has some Mickey Mouse sized shoes to fill. First and foremost, he’ll have to make nice with Kevin Mayer, Disney’s head of streaming that was passed up as the heir to Cinderella’s throne. 

In addition to dealing with spurned colleagues, Chapek will also now be jointly reporting to his old pal Bob Iger, who will become executive chairman, and Disney’s board of directors. With coronavirus just starting to hit its stride, before even making it stateside, that’s going to be some lofty expectations to meet.

Bob Iger abruptly steps down as Disney CEO [WSJ]

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