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Disney CEO Bob Iger says he will step down in 2021, a succession plan is forming

Key Points
  • Disney CEO Bob Iger said that he will step down from the company in 2021.
  • A succession plan is in the works.
  • Iger has been the chief executive since 2005.
Robert Iger, chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Co., arrives for a morning session at the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Thursday, July 12, 2018. 
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Disney CEO Bob Iger said that he is definitely stepping down from his post at the company in 2021.

"I'm expecting my contract to expire at the end of 2021," Iger said Thursday during Disney's investor day presentations. "And I was going to say 'and this time I mean it,' but I've said it before. I've been CEO since October of 2005 and as I've said many times, there's a time for everything and 2021 will be the time for me to finally step down."

Iger has extended his contract with Disney twice during his tenure. Once in 2018 and then through 2021, but it was contingent on the Fox deal closing. Since that merger has wrapped up, Iger will remain with the company as the head executive for the next two years.

"I've been engaged with the board for quite some time and there's discussion about a succession and they've been engaged in a succession process," Iger said. "And we continue to feel that they will be able to identify my successor on a timely enough basis so this company has smooth transition."

Iger has been instrumental in many of Disney's acquisitions, including Pixar in 2006, Marvel in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012. He has also pushed for the launch of Disney+, a streaming service filled with original movies and television shows as well as Disney's slate of classic animated and live-action content.

There were rumors last month that Disney's internal restructuring was setting up two top executives as potential successors to Iger. 

Kevin Mayer, 55, the company's head of strategy, was named chairman of a new direct-to-consumer and international segment. And Robert Chapek, 58, head of parks, added consumer products to his oversight. 

Former consumer products head James Pitaro, 48, was named as the head of ESPN, but is considered a long shot for the role of CEO.

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