Bob Iger Discusses Feelings About Stepping Away, What He Plans to Do with His Future in Exit Interview

As former CEO Bob Iger prepares to step away from The Walt Disney Company at the end of the year, Variety shared an extensive interview with him, exploring everything from his time with the company to what he plans to do with his retirement.

  • Before getting into too much reflection or looking forward, Iger was asked about how he feels as he prepares to step away from The Walt Disney Company:
    • “I’m being resolute about it — this time around. I haven’t once second-guessed it or hesitated. It’s bittersweet. I’m going to miss people, and I’m going to miss the creative process.”
  • As for the sweet part of that equation, Iger explained that he’s looking forward to some time off:
    • “I’m looking forward to unplugging more than anything else and waking up one day and not feeling all the responsibility that I have on my shoulders.”
  • He elaborated on that a bit, explaining that he’s not going to miss the constant work:
    • “I officially became CEO on Oct. 1, 2005, and I really have not had a day off since. Not a day off. I’m looking forward to what I’ll call a true day off. And I’m not talking about a day on my boat where I’m answering emails all day and screening rough cuts.”
  • Ironically, with his first day off being January 1st, Iger explained that will be watching some Disney-owned programming, though a bit differently than usual:
    • “I guess I’m going to watch some college football without having to worry about the outcome of the ratings.”
  • Iger was asked about his next book and, though he has “not signed on the dotted line yet,” he did shed some light on what the focus of the potential book might be:
    • “I haven’t started writing the book. I wrote a proposal that I sent to the publisher. But to answer the question, in observing how leaders reacted to the pandemic and to COVID, it struck me that leaders are frequently balancing a set of countervailing dynamics in order to successfully lead through a crisis of that magnitude.”
  • Finally, Iger shared his thoughts on what current Disney CEO Bob Chapek will be facing in the future:
    • “Bob has to make a lot of those decisions himself. As the world changes and continues to be disruptive, he will be faced with circumstances, challenges and opportunities that are going to be very different than those I’ve been faced with. So he’s going to have to be facile. He’s going to have to have the ability to adapt to a changing time. I’m not presuming he has to do this a certain way. The one thing I have exhorted Bob and everybody else at the company to do is to keep those creative fires burning.”
  • You can read the whole interview between Bob Iger and Variety here.

About Bob Iger’s retirement:

  • Bob Iger spent 47 years with ABC and The Walt Disney Company, including 15 years as Disney CEO, Iger is set to step down as executive chairman of the board at the end of December 2021.
  • Recently, it was announced that Susan Arnold will be stepping into his position of Chairman of the Board.
  • Iger will remain executive chairman through the end this year. During his tenure with the company, he steered Disney through the successful purchases of Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and other brands that became enormously successful for Disney.