The fact that Bob Chapek transitioned from Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products in February to replace Bob Iger as Disney CEO demonstrates the importance of the theme park business to the entertainment giant.
Chapek had not been in the job long before the closure of all six Disney theme park resorts worldwide due to the coronavirus. That inflicted a $3 billion+ loss on Parks, Experiences and Products in the second quarter of the year. Disney may have deep pockets, but this did not stop it announcing the subsequent lay off 28,000 park employees in the US.
The suspension of Disney’s film production and live sports activities came as a further blow. A silver lining in the COVID-19 shaped cloud came from the growth of the Disney+ streaming platform, as consumers around the globe devoured media content to relieve the monotony of lockdown.
Prior to joining Disney, Chapek worked in branding for HJ Heinz and in advertising with J Walter Thompson. If magic is an essential ingredient of Disney’s success, he will need lots of it to help the company recover from the pandemic.