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Robert A. "Bob" Iger (born February 10, 1951) is an American businessman and the current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. He was named president of Disney in 2000, and later succeeded Michael Eisner as chief executive in 2005, after a successful effort by Roy E. Disney to shake-up the management of the company. Iger oversaw the acquisition of Pixar in 2006, following a period of strained relations with the animation studio. He also led the company to acquire Marvel Entertainment in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012, further broadening the Disney company's character franchises.
Early life and career
Robert Iger was born to a Jewish family in Long Island, New York. His mother Mimi worked at Boardman Junior High School in Oceanside, New York and his father Arthur was executive vice president and general manager of the Greenvale Marketing Corporation, and a professor of advertising and public relations.
Iger was a graduate of Ithaca College. He then began his career as a weatherman for a local television station. He joined the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) in 1974 and gradually rose through its ranks. Bob Iger was instrumental in convincing ABC to pick up David Lynch's offbeat but influential Twin Peaks. He served as president of the ABC Network Television Group from 1993–94, and then was named president and chief operating officer of ABC's corporate parent, Capital Cities/ABC. In 1996, The Walt Disney Company bought Capital Cities/ABC and renamed it ABC, Inc., where Bob Iger remained president until 1999. During his years with ABC, Iger obtained hands-on experience in every aspect of the television business including news, sports and entertainment, as well as program acquisition, rights negotiations and business affairs.
On February 25, 1999, Disney named Bob Iger president of Walt Disney International, the business unit that oversaw Disney's international operations, as well as chairman of the ABC Group. Disney called the change a promotion for Iger. But the company's insistence was initially viewed with skepticism, as some thought Iger was merely being removed from day-to-day authority at ABC since ABC had been struggling. Disney named Iger its president and chief operating officer on January 25, 2000, making him the company's number two executive under Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner.
On March 13, 2005, Disney announced that Bob Iger would succeed Eisner as chief executive officer. On March 26, Iger reassigned Peter Murphy, the company's chief strategic officer, and pledged to disband the company's strategic planning division. Iger also vowed to restore much of the decision-making authority that the division had assumed to the company's individual business units. The company reconciled with former board members Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold, who in July 2005 dropped their "Save Disney" campaign and agreed to work with Iger. In the process, Roy Disney was named a director emeritus and consultant.
On January 24, 2006, Disney announced it would acquire Pixar for $7.4 billion in an all-stock transaction. The merger installed animator John Lasseter as chief creative officer of the Disney/Pixar animation studios and principal creative adviser for Walt Disney Imagineering, the division that designs theme park attractions. Roy Disney, who had been critical of Iger for his role as Eisner's deputy, issued this statement:
- "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."
Iger has cited international expansion, technological innovation and a renewed focus on traditional animation as the company's top strategic priorities. On October 7, 2011, Disney announced that Bob Iger would become chairman following John Pepper's retirement from the board in March 2012.
As Chairman and CEO, Bob Iger is the steward of the world's largest media company and some of the most respected and beloved brands around the globe. His strategic vision for The Walt Disney Company focuses on three fundamental aspects: generating the best creative content possible; fostering innovation and utilizing the latest technology; and expanding into new markets around the world. Mr. Iger has built on Disney's rich history of unforgettable storytelling, with the acquisition of Pixar (2006) and Marvel (2009), two of the entertainment industry's greatest storytellers.
Pirates of the Caribbean
On January 2010, Disney CEO Bob Iger met with Governor Linda Lingle of Hawaii to announce that the islands of Kauai and Oahu would be filming sites for the production of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth installment of the film series. The feature film would have pre-production happen in the spring, while principal photography would begin in the summer. "The Walt Disney Company has a great relationship with Hawai'i that we're looking forward to building upon with the filming of the latest adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew," said Bob Iger. "I thank Governor Lingle and her team for their tremendous support of the projects Disney has underway in this great state."