Disney board extends CEO Iger's contract by one year

Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:53pm EDT
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By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co's board (DIS.N: Quote) extended the term of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger by one year as it continues searching for a successor to a long-serving leader who is popular on Wall Street, the company said on Thursday.

The extension, until July 2, 2019, is a third for the 66-year-old Iger, who said last month he was open to extending his term. Originally, Iger had said he would retire in April 2015, but he then agreed to stay through June 2016 and then later to remain until June 2018.

Disney shares closed 0.1 percent higher at $112.24 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Disney, the world's largest entertainment company and owner of sports network ESPN, a movie studio and theme parks around the world, is still searching for a capable hand to step into Iger's shoes.

Speaking on Thursday at a technology and entertainment conference, Iger said he and the board agreed "we could use more time to not only spend on succession but to create a better transition."

"I feel great about it, but I'm serious this time around ... I promise," he said in an interview conducted by his wife, journalist Willow Bay. She is the incoming dean of the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, which co-hosted the event with USC's Marshall School of Business.

Iger will remain a consultant to Disney for three years after his chairman and CEO term ends.

Orin Smith, independent lead director of Disney's board, said the company and shareholders "will be best served by (Iger's) continued leadership as the board conducts the robust process of identifying a successor and ensuring a smooth transition."   Continued...

Disney's Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger holds a news conference at Shanghai Disney Resort as part of the three-day Grand Opening events in Shanghai, China, June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song