Disney Appoints Susan Arnold Board Chair

Susan Arnold, board chair, Walt Disney Co.

Susan Arnold, board chair, Walt Disney Co.

Walt Disney Co. has elected a woman as chair of its board for the first time in the company’s 98-year history.

Susan Arnold, a Disney board member for 14 years, will replace Bob Iger in the position after he leaves on Dec. 31.

Iger informed the Disney board Dec. 8 of his decision to step down as executive chairman at the end of 2021, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Susan 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 said in a statement. “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.”

A former executive at Procter & Gamble Co., McDonald’s and global investment firm Carlyle Group, Arnold has been listed on Fortune Magazine’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business since 2002. She served as Disney’s independent lead director since 2018.

After naming Bob Chapek as Iger’s successor as chief executive in February 2020, Disney restructured its executive hierarchy to keep the roles of CEO and chairman separate. Iger was named CEO in 2005, but he was not given the role of chairman until 2012, so it isn’t clear yet if the switch is merely adapting to a similar trajectory.

“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 centurylong legacy of creative excellence and innovation,” Arnold said in a statement.

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