Disney CEO Bob Iger is gaining ground after an unprecedented quarter. Iger's strategy is one that likely couldn't be replicated at any other company—building, tapping into, and buying iconic brands that thrive across all of Disney's divisions, from movies and TV to theme parks and consumer products. Iger is responsible for a series of massive acquisitions: Pixar Animation Studios in 2006, Marvel Entertainment in 2009, and Lucasfilm in 2012. The companies naturally fit with Disney's family-friendly brands and Iger's brand-focused strategy and global-expansion plans.
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In an increasingly fragmented media landscape, Disney's focus on iconic characters, like those on the Disney Channel, in "Star Wars" movies, or even on ESPN, allows its content to stick out from the crowd. And when it comes to what's perhaps Disney's crown jewel, ESPN, the appeal of its unmatchable live events is even more valuable. And whether it's with ESPN's live sports coverage, streaming live TV, or selling movies through iTunes, Iger has pioneered digital distribution, and been willing to push the limits of how media companies use technology. This can be traced back to Iger's close relationship to Steve Jobs, who as Pixar's former chairman, sat on Disney's board before his death. Iger has been on Apple's board of directors since 2011.
—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin. Follow her on Twitter: @JBoorstin