Iger in June 2013
Robert Allen Iger
February 10, 1951
|Alma mater||Ithaca College|
|Salary||US$65.6 million (2018)|
|Title||Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company|
|Political party||Democratic (until 2016)|
Independent (since 2016)
|Board member of||The Walt Disney Company|
|Spouse(s)||Kathleen Susan (divorced)|
Willow Bay (m. 1995)
Robert Allen Iger (//; born February 10, 1951) is an American media executive and businessman who is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Walt Disney Company. Before working for Disney, Iger served as the President of ABC Television from 1994–95, and as President/COO of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. from 1995 until Disney's acquisition of the company in 1996.
He was named President and COO of Disney in 2000, and later succeeded Michael Eisner as CEO in 2005, after a successful effort by Roy E. Disney to shake up the management of the company. As part of his yearly compensation, Iger earned $44.9 million in 2015. During Iger's tenure, Disney broadened the company's roster of intellectual properties and its presence in international markets; Iger oversaw the acquisitions of Pixar in 2006 for $7.4 billion, Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $4 billion, Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.06 billion, and 21st Century Fox in 2019 for $71.3 billion, as well as the expansion of the company's theme park resorts in East Asia, with the introduction of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Shanghai Disney Resort in 2005 and 2016, respectively.
Iger was a driving force behind the reinvigoration of Walt Disney Animation Studios and the branded-release strategy of its film studio's output. Under Iger, Disney has experienced increases in revenue across its various divisions, with the company's market capitalization value increasing from $48.4 billion to $257 billion over a period of thirteen years.
In April 2019, Abigail Disney, granddaughter of Walt's brother Roy, claimed that the increased annual compensation of Disney's Chief Executive, Bob Iger, “deepened wealth inequality”. Iger made $65.6 million in 2018 – 1,424 times the median salary of a Disney employee, which included a one-time stock grant for extending his contract to oversee the acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The Walt Disney Company responded by saying, "Disney has added more than 70,000 jobs during Mr. Iger's tenure and has made historic investments to expand the earning potential and upward mobility of our workers," adding that they had implemented an hourly minimum wage at Disneyland of $15/hour and are spending $150m on an education initiative to provide free college training. Iger had previously announced that he will step down as CEO of Disney when his contract expires at the end of 2021.
Iger was born to a Jewish family in New York City. He is the son of Mimi (née Tunick) and Arthur L. Iger (b. 1926). His father was a World War II veteran who served as the executive vice president and general manager of the Greenvale Marketing Corporation, and was also a professor of advertising and public relations. His mother worked at Boardman Junior High School in Oceanside, New York. Arthur's father Joe (i.e. Robert's paternal grandfather) was cartoonist Jerry Iger's brother.
He was raised in Oceanside, where he attended the Fulton Avenue School and graduated from Oceanside High School in 1969. In 1973, he graduated magna cum laude from the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Television and Radio.
Iger began his media career in 1972 as the host of "Campus Probe", an Ithaca College television show. He dreamed of becoming a news anchor while he worked as a weatherman in Ithaca for five months, before shifting his career goals.
American Broadcasting Company (ABC)
In 1974, Iger joined the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). In 1989, he was named head of ABC Entertainment. He served as president of the ABC Network Television Group from January 1993 to 1994, and was appointed as Capital Cities/ABC senior vice president in March 1993 and executive vice president in July 1993. In 1994, Iger was named president and chief operating officer of ABC's corporate parent, Capital Cities/ABC.
The Walt Disney Company
On February 25, 1999, Disney named Iger the president of Walt Disney International, the business unit that oversees Disney's international operations, as well as chairman of the ABC Group, removing him from day-to-day authority at ABC. Disney called the change a promotion for Iger.
Disney named Iger the president and chief operating officer (COO) on January 24, 2000, making him Disney's No. 2 executive under chairman and CEO, Michael Eisner. Disney had been without a separate president since Eisner assumed the role following the departure of Michael Ovitz in 1997, after sixteen months at Disney.
As a result of a successful effort by Roy E. Disney to shake up the management of the company, Disney began a search for the next CEO to replace Eisner. On March 13, 2005, Disney announced that Iger would succeed Michael Eisner as CEO, and Iger was placed in charge of day-to-day operations, though Eisner held the title of CEO until he resigned on September 30, 2005. One of Iger's first major decisions as CEO was to reassign Disney's chief strategic officer, Peter Murphy, and disband the company's Strategic Planning division. Prior to Iger being named CEO, board members Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold began a campaign called "save Disney" against Eisner. In July 2005, Disney and Gold dropped the campaign and agreed to work with Iger.
On January 24, 2006, under Iger's leadership, Disney announced it would acquire Pixar for $7.4 billion in an all-stock transaction. In the same year, Iger also re-acquired the rights to Walt Disney's first star, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, from NBCUniversal by releasing sportscaster Al Michaels from ABC Sports to NBC Sports.
Also in 2006, Roy E. Disney issued this statement regarding Iger:
Animation has always been the heart and soul of The Walt Disney Company, and it is wonderful to see Bob Iger and the company embraces that heritage by bringing the outstanding animation talent of the Pixar team back into the fold. This clearly solidifies The Walt Disney Company's position as the dominant leader in motion picture animation and we applaud and support Bob Iger's vision.
In August 2009, Iger spearheaded negotiations that led Disney to acquire Marvel Entertainment and its associated assets for $4 billion. As of August 2014, Disney has recouped over $4 billion at the box office through the Marvel movies. On October 7, 2011, Disney announced that Iger would become chairman of the board, following John Pepper's retirement from the board in March 2012. On Tuesday November 15, 2011, Apple, Inc., led by CEO Tim Cook, named Iger to its board of directors. Iger was responsible for making Steve Jobs Disney's largest shareholder by its acquisition of Pixar.
In October 2012, Iger signed a deal with film producer George Lucas to purchase Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4 billion following several months of negotiations. As a result, Disney acquired the rights to the Star Wars multimedia franchise and Indiana Jones. Following its release on December 18, 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed over $2 billion at the box office. In March 2016, Iger announced that the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort would open its doors on June 16, 2016. In May 2016, Iger wrote in a Facebook post claiming that Disney has hired 11,000 new employees in the past decade at Disneyland, and 18,000 in the past decade. Iger specifically targeted Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders, asking him how much he has contributed to job growth.
Iger's contract as Disney's chairman and CEO was originally planned to run until June 30, 2018; however, in March 2017, Disney announced that it was extending Iger's term to July 2, 2019, and said he would serve as a consultant for the following three years. In December 2017, Disney extended Iger's contract through 2021.
Iger has been married twice. His first marriage to Kathleen Susan Iger ended in divorce. They have two daughters.
Iger co-chaired a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign on August 22, 2016. He was named to President-elect Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum on December 2, 2016. He resigned from Trump's Advisory Council on June 1, 2017 after Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.
Accolades and recognition
In June 2012, Steven Spielberg, founder of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, presented Iger with the Ambassador for Humanity Award. Iger was recognized for his support of the Institute's work, his longtime philanthropy, and his leadership role in corporate citizenship. Iger was presented with The Milestone Award from the Producers Guild of America (PGA) in 2014. The award is the PGA's highest recognition for an individual or team who has made contributions to entertainment.
In May 2015, Iger was named to the 25th Annual Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. In October 2015, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) inducted Iger into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. He was selected by members of TIA in recognition of his contributions to the industry, and the impact his work has had on the lives of children worldwide.
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Media related to Bob Iger at Wikimedia Commons
| President of ABC Entertainment
(Previously Michael Ovitz)
| President of The Walt Disney Company
| CEO of The Walt Disney Company
John E. Pepper, Jr.
| Chairman of The Walt Disney Company