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Disney appoints Susan Arnold as chairman set to succeed Bob Iger

Arnold has been a member of Disney’s board for 14 years, working as its independent lead director since 2018.

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The Walt Disney Company has appointed Susan Arnold as chairman of the board, effective from December 31, 2021. She will succeed Bob Iger when he leaves the company at the end of this year.

Arnold will be the first woman to serve as Disney‘s chairman in the company’s history. She has been a member of the board for 14 years, working as its independent lead director since 2018.

She was an operating executive at The Carlyle Group between 2013 and 2021. Prior to that, Arnold served as president of the global business units of Procter & Gamble from 2007 to 2009, and was a member of the board at McDonald’s between 2008 and 2016.

First woman to serve as Disney chairman

“Susan is an incredibly esteemed executive whose wealth of experience, unwavering integrity, and expert judgment have been invaluable to the company since she first joined the board in 2007,” said Iger.

Arnold is “the perfect choice for chairman of the board, and I am confident the company is well-positioned for continued success under her guidance and leadership”, Iger added.

“It has been a distinct honor to work with Susan and our many other talented directors, and I am incredibly grateful for the support and wise counsel they have provided during my tenure.”

Iger has served as chairman of the board since 2012, and as Disney’s executive chairman since 2020. Between 2005 and 2020, Iger led Disney as CEO, overseeing the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort in 2016.

Iger has taken the company “to amazing heights both creatively and financially, with his clear strategic vision for delivering high-quality branded storytelling, embracing cutting-edge technology, and expanding internationally”, Arnold said.

“As I step into this new role as chairman of the board, I look forward to continuing to serve the long-term interests of Disney’s shareholders and working closely with CEO Bob Chapek as he builds upon the company’s century-long legacy of creative excellence and innovation.”

Additionally, Bob Weis has stepped down as president of Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), with Barbara Bouza appointed as his replacement. Weis has been president of WDI since 2016.

Chapek was named Disney’s CEO in February last year. Previously, he served as chairman of Disney parks, experiences and products, which is now led by Josh D’Amaro.

Images: Disney

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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