Some would say that Disney is the most successful entertainment company in the world, currently owning popular franchises like Marvel and owning rights to the Star Wars and Indianan Jones franchises as well. Those people aren’t wrong, but this growth didn’t happen overnight.
What we can say, however, is that Disney owes nearly all of its success and growth in recent years to one man — Bob Iger.
Known for his emotional intelligence, politeness, and business smarts, Bob has managed to keep Disney not only relevant and a cultural phenomenon in the past few decades but increasingly profitable as well. Even though the company took losses like any other during the pandemic in 2020, it successfully overcame many challenges due to Bob’s help. Let’s take a look in this Bob Iger bio at where it all started and how he did it.
Bob Iger Bio Facts
|Birth Date||10 February 1951|
|Birth Place||New York|
|Nick Name||Not applicable|
|Siblings||Amanda Iger, Kate Iger|
|Children||Robert Maxwell “Max” Iger, William Iger, and two daughters|
|Partner/Spouse||Kathleen Susan Iger (Divorced), Willow Bay|
|Profession||Businessman, Entrepreneur, Film producer, Manager|
|Salary||$3 million base salary|
|Net Worth||$690 Million|
|Companies Associated With||Disney, Genies, Inc., Perfect Day, Apple|
Bob Iger Key Facts Summary
- Started working as a helping hand at ABC’s news sets and eventually worked his way up to become the CEO of Disney.
- Disney grew to new heights under his leadership and made deals like the purchase of Lucasfilms, Pixar, the Marvel franchise, and much more with Iger as CEO.
- Iger was originally set to resign from his position as CEO in 2018, but his departure from the company was delayed three times, and he was called back in to help lead the company through the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. He eventually left Disney in 2021.
- He has a masterclass on business leadership during tough times, a book coming out on the same topic in 2024, and a book named “A Ride of a Lifetime” about the things he has learned as a high-level executive in the entertainment industry for more than 50 years.
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Birthplace and Early Life
Born to Navy Veteran and businessman Arthur L. Iger and school teacher Mimi Iger, Robert Iger grew up in Oceanside. He attended Ithaca colleges later in life where they graduated with a bachelor of science in Television and Radio.
Early Business Success
Unlike other Billionaires around the world who made their bucks through entrepreneurship and successful businesses, Bob Iger rose through the corporate ladder in the entertainment industry. His success comes mainly from making the right kind of friends and showing massive potential during his early years at ABC, where he caught the attention of a few higher-ups. He later went on to become the CEO of Disney. He was responsible for guiding it through the pandemic and all that it entailed. The entertainment company grew to be the biggest in the world under his leadership.
His Time at the American Broadcasting Company (ABC)
Bob Iger was hired by ABC right out of college. He was responsible for doing some basic work behind the scenes on various television sets. Eventually, he became the senior program executive for the Calgary Winter Olympics, but the event was marred by extremely bad weather. His ideas for what to do with the broadcasting time gained him the attention of two high-level ABC executives, Daniel Burke and Thomas Murphy.
It was these two who trained Iger to eventually become the head of ABC Entertainment in 1989, and eventually COO and president of ABC’s parent company Capital Cities in 1994. He stayed the chairman of the company until 1999 when it was acquired by Walt Disney.
Time at Disney
Walt Disney renamed Capital Cities as ABC Inc. and removed Iger from authority over the day-to-day workings of the company. In 1999, Iger was named Walt Disney International’s President – the branch of the organization responsible for Disney’s International affairs and operations.
This “promotion” was not welcome as it prevented Iger from working as he wanted at the company, and he was promoted to CEO of Disney in July 2005. This was the result of an internal campaign called “save Disney” launched by Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold, who were against the direction the current CEO at that time – Michael Eisner – was taking Disney in.
After a lot of searching, all parties involved with the movement agreed that Bob Iger would be the next CEO.
Under his leadership, Disney made deals that are probably going to go down in history as some of the most successful entertainment deals so far. This includes Disney’s acquisition of the Marvel franchise, the Star Wars Universe, Pixar, and a lot of other intellectual properties. In most of these deals costing billions of dollars, Disney made back what it invested in a matter of years.
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Acquisitions and Intellectual Property Deals Under Iger
- Disney also got back its first cartoon character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit from NBC.
- Disney announced that it was acquiring Pixar in 2006 in a $7.4 Billion deal/ According to this deal, all of Pixar’s stocks would be transferred to Disney.
- Iger was in charge of the deals that saw the Marvel universe become an official part of Disney for $4 billion in August 2009. The company had earned all this money back by 2014 at the box office through Marvel movies.
- In October 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilms for $4 billion. This deal gave Disney the rights to franchises like Star Wars and Indiana Jones. The 2015 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens alone made $2 billion at the box office, making this deal a huge success for Disney.
- 20th Century Fox shareholders also approved Disney for its purchase of 20th Century Fox’s assets.
The Long Farewell
Disney was reluctant to let go of Iger, with his contract having been extended about three times. In March 2020, Iger finally announced the end of his term as the company’s CEO, only to have to return to help the new CEO – Bob Chapek – lead the company through all the chaos the pandemic brought.
With theme parks and movie productions slowing down or shutting down altogether, the company was also thrown into internal turmoil. Internal sources report that Chapek wasn’t entirely happy with Iger staying on to “help” lead the company, especially when he was reporting to Iger as the Chairman of the board anyway. Both the CEOs often had different things in mind and little communication was happening, something that was apparent in the company’s internal communications.
Other sources have also reported that Chapek has had difficulty filling in Iger’s shoes as CEO, with issues like the lawsuit between Disney and Scarlet Johanson happening under Chapek’s watch. This incident is said to have embarrassed Iger, while a lot of Disney’s employees seem to prefer Iger over Chapek.
While emotional intelligence and charm were considered Iger’s strong suits, Chapek seems to struggle in this department. After much drama, Iger finally stepped down from the company in 2021.
Now, he has recently launched his own widely marketed Masterclass on the popular educational content platform and has written a book called “A Ride of a Lifetime” as well. There is also a newer book about to be released in 2024. Both the masterclass and the upcoming book are centered around the art of leadership through difficult times – something Iger has excelled at since his days at ABC.
Bob Iger Business Failures
Some might argue that Bob Iger’s career has been an overall success. While that’s largely true, it would be a lie to say that anyone so heavily involved with Hollywood and the entertainment industry didn’t make their fair share of wrong moves at some point in their career.
In Iger’s case, the trouble usually came in the form of having allegedly known about a lot of what other executives in Hollywood got up to – and we’re talking about people like Harvey Weinstein here – and allegedly having done nothing to stop it.
One of the biggest scandals was when Iger was named in a 2017 Variety article where it was said that Bob Iger knew about John Lasseter – the creative head of Pixar and the person behind hits like Frozen, Moana, Coco, Toy Story, and more – making out with a junior Pixar employee at a party.
Iger was also named in the Harvey Weinstein scandals, where it was alleged by actress Paz de la Huerta that Disney and its current and former CEOs Bob Iger and Michael Eisner knew all about what Weinstein was doing and “made a series of decisions that allowed a range of actions by Harvey Weinstein that unacceptably harmed certain employees of Miramax.”
While Iger and Disney stayed silent on the whole scandal with Lasseter, they denied knowing about any misconduct in the Harvey Weinstein case.
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Bob Iger Family
Bob Iger has been married twice, once to Kathleen Susan, whom he divorced, and then to Willow Bay. He has two daughters with Kathleen Susan Iger and two sons with Willow Bay.
In his book “A Ride of a Lifetime”, he mentions how it was at times hard for him to maintain a work-life balance. During his conversations with the Jewish priest who was going to officiate his wedding, Iger had to keep taking calls about the deal going forward – Disney’s purchase of ABC.
Bob Iger’s Net Worth and Career Earnings
According to Forbes, his net worth was estimated to be $690 million in 2019. His base salary as the CEO of Disney was $3 million.
Bob Iger Real Estate Holdings
In 2018, Bob Iger sold his New York apartment for $18.8 million. Apart from that, not a lot of information is available on the property he owns – a lot of it is likely to be in the form of stocks for Disney and other companies that he has invested in in the past.
Question: What is Bob Iger’s net worth?
Answer: According to Forbes, Bob Iger was worth $690 million in 2019.
Question: How old is Bob Iger?
Answer: Bob Iger is currently 71 years old.
Question: Is Bob Iger successful?
Answer: Bob Iger is one of the world’s most influential and successful businessmen, having paved the way for Disney to grow to unprecedented heights in the years he spent with it. He started from a basic job at ABC. He rose through the ranks to eventually become the CEO at Disney, where he oversaw deals like the acquisition of Lucasfilms, the Marvel Universe, Pixar, and many other similar assets by Disney.
Question: Is Bob Iger the CEO of Disney?
Answer: Bob Iger has resigned from his position as CEO and retired from the company – Disney is now under the leadership of Bob Chapek.
Question: What is Bob Iger doing now?
Answer: Ever since he retired, he has released a Masterclass on business leadership. He is currently working on a book on the same topic. The book is set to be released in 2024. At the same time, he is on the board of directors for companies like Perfect Day and Genies, Inc.
Question: Is Bob Iger married?
Answer: Bob Iger is currently married to Willow Bay and has been married once before to Kathleen Susan Iger. He has a total of four children, two with each woman.
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