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Pro Analysis

Breakingviews: Disney boss risks overstaying his welcome

CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger.
Michael Kovac | Getty Images
CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger.

Bob Iger may swing for a three-peat. The Walt Disney chief executive is considering delaying for the third time his departure from atop the House of Mouse. It's a sign the media conglomerate has failed in efforts to find his replacement since Tom Staggs left last year. Clinging to power, though, can get messy.

Executives within Disney are betting that Iger, who has run the company for 12 years and turns 66 on Friday, will have to stick around longer, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. By all accounts, Iger is a worthy boss. Since he took over in 2005, Disney's market value rose from $46 billion to about $148 billion at the end of its fiscal 2016 year. Total shareholder return over the same period increased 350 percent, Disney said in its proxy.

Beyond the numbers, Iger has boosted the company in other ways by making savvy acquisitions such as the $4 billion deal for "Star Wars" studio Lucasfilm. And no company is better at cross-promoting its products: Princess Elsa costumes from the animated hit "Frozen" are a big hit with toddlers, for example.