LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The 77,000 Disney cast members who call Central Florida home now have a new boss.
In a surprise move, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek is out, and former CEO Bob Iger is in.
The move comes as the company is facing political turmoil here in Florida and economic pressures companywide, and those changes will have ripple effects from Orlando to Tallahassee.
Iger led the company for 15 years. Chapek was at the helm for more than two years.
“Cast members now have back in place the CEO that they loved,” said Dr. Rick Foglesong, who wrote the book “Married to the Mouse,” detailing Florida’s long history with Disney.
Foglesong pointed to two possible reasons for Chapek’s departure: a soft fourth-quarter earnings report with the streaming service Disney+ losing money, and Chapek’s handling of the company response to Florida’s Parental Rights Bill, referred to by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which led to the dissolvement of Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District.
Foglesong said he suspects that the company’s recently announced hiring freeze and planned layoffs will move forward but in a less severe manner.
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