Bob Iger stepped down earlier today as Disney’s CEO effective immediately. This departure came as a surprise to shareholders after Iger’s 2019 announcement that he would be leaving his position in late 2021. Iger decided to leave his position 22 months early in order to focus on the creative side of Disney, according to CNBC. Bob Chapek, former Chairman of Disney Parks and Experiences, has taken over as CEO.
Iger will remain an executive until 2021. Chapek will continue working under Iger’s direction until the transition is complete. Disney stock fell 2.5% within hours of the sudden announcement.
The news comes after the announcement that Harvey Weinstein, who worked closely with Iger for years as the co-chairman of Miramax, a subsidiary of Disney, was found guilty of sexual assault Monday. After filing a sexual misconduct lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, Paz de la Huerta added several prominent members of Disney’s board of executives to the suit, according to Vanity Fair. The lawsuit states that Iger helped Weinstein, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, and Pixar head John Lasseter create a culture that fostered workplace sexual harassment.
Huerta is suing Iger for violation of federal sex trafficking statutes for his involvement with Weinstein. The Guardian reports that Lasseter had a reputation for inappropriate behavior among the company’s younger women, including at least one of his junior employees. His time at Disney ended in June 2018 when he admitted to misconduct that had been brought to life during the #MeToo Movement. A representative of Disney told The Hollywood Reporter that “The Weinsteins operated and managed their business with virtual autonomy,” making sure to add that “There is absolutely no legal basis for claims against the company and we will defend against them vigorously.”
Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault on the February 24 after a long list of prominent Hollywood figures testified that he had raped or assaulted them over the last several decades. He is in custody awaiting his sentencing, scheduled for March 11th.