Disney CEO Iger says he is open to extending his term

Tue Feb 7, 2017 7:15pm EST
 
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By Rishika Sadam and Lisa Richwine

(Reuters) - Chief Executive Bob Iger said on Tuesday he is open to extending his term as the head of Walt Disney Co (DIS.N: Quote), offering investors a sign of potential stability at the media company as it reported a dip in quarterly advertising at ESPN.

Investor favorite Iger's current contract ends in June 2018, and shareholders are eager that he is replaced by a steady pair of hands. In Iger's 12 years at the helm of Disney, the company's shares have more than tripled in value, compared to roughly a doubling of the S&P 500.

During a conference call on Tuesday, Iger said he was confident a successor would be chosen "on a timely basis." He added that he would consider extending his term "if it is in the best interest of the company."

It would not be the first time Iger has extended his stay in office. He originally announced plans to retire in April 2015, agreed to stay on through June 2016, then later agreed to remain until June 2018.

"The fear was (investors) had no idea who is going to step in, and so Bob Iger staying is probably is exactly what investors wanted to hear," BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield said.

In its quarterly earnings report on Tuesday, Disney posted lower-than-expected revenue for October to December, hurt by the drop in advertising revenue at ESPN and an unfavorable comparison in the movie business due to the record success of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" a year earlier.

Shares initially fell more than 2 percent after the quarterly report but regained some ground after Iger's comments about his future. They were down about 0.5 percent in after-hours trading.

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FILE PHOTO -  The logo of the Disney store on the Champs Elysee is seen in Paris, France, March 3, 2016.   REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen/File Photo