Returning CEO Robert Iger briefed Disney employees on his plans for the future of the company during a town-hall meeting—emphasizing a focus on profitability rather than subscriber numbers.
- Iger returned as Disney’s CEO about a week ago after the board removed former CEO Rob Chapek from his position.
- Before stepping down as CEO in 2020, Disney employees had voiced some concerns over how Iger ran the company. Though he was welcomed with applause, he is facing an uphill battle to boost employee morale.
- He stressed that for now there would be no acquisitions but rather a focus on current assets.
- During the town hall, Iger answered employee questions and stressed that creativity would be the company’s guide as he determined Disney’s next steps.
Why it’s news
Disney has seen a tumultuous year as the company tax-exempt status was threatened and it has been hemorrhaging money from key divisions like Disney+ and ESPN. Company reports have shown nearly $4 billion in losses this year.
Iger left behind a shining reputation when he stepped down in 2020. Now that reputation will be put to the test as the new CEO has two years to get the company back on track.
“The status quo is gone, a lot has changed, but the sun is still shining in our world, our Disney world, is still spinning,” Iger said at the town hall.
While answering questions, Iger told employees that the company would focus on making money rather than adding subscribers to divisions like Disney+. This is a change some investors had been asking for since the beginning of this year.
Achieving a profitable streaming service could prove to be difficult. Disney+ has now passed its initial growth phase that was spurred on by a partnership with Verizon. Discounts encouraged new subscribers—now Disney has to convince them to stay.
Before his departure, Chapek had announced a hiring freeze, additional cost cutting measures, and potential layoffs. Iger said that the hiring freeze would remain in place and so would the cost cutting.
Under Chapek’s leadership, Disney content spending ballooned to $30 billion during this fiscal year while charging its subscribers less than competitors. Iger says that he hasn’t fully caught up on Disney’s spending but plans to spend money when it will increase the company’s value.
Iger also addressed concerns about changes to the theme park reservation system and potentially moving Disney’s “Imagineers” from California to Florida. He did not announce any immediate changes to these plans, but has said that he will be looking into them.
When addressing Disney’s public altercation with Florida Governor Ron Desantis earlier this year, Iger said that he values the company’s LGBT employees.
Though Iger did not make any official announcements concerning remote work for Disney employees, he indicated that Disney employees may soon be returning to the office.