Bob Iger Open to Re-Upping at Walt Disney

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Bob Iger, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company, let the proverbial cat out of the bag explaining in ever so veiled language his strategic intent to retain his current position for at least two more years.

With his contract set to expire, in June 2018, the golden Iger, who has had a hand in turning DISNEY stock into a solid Wall Street bet, consistently flirting with the $100.00 dollar mark, and passing it more than once, while maintaining a strong hovering place in the $90.00 dollar range.

His penchant for the BIG deals, from the beginning of his tenure with the purchase of PIXAR, the acquisition of George Lucas’ billion-dollar Star Wars franchise, MARVEL, the Shanghi Theme Park, the upcoming AVATAR theme Park and the soon to be opening Star Wars theme Park, has significantly solidified his position as he has made the DISNEY brand truly global.

In addition to these new offerings the DINSEY 2017 Slate, with just eight films will, as those who make the box office projections, outperform previous heavier slates bringing total production costs down with the absence of two or more additional films.  Costs down, profits up, Alan Horn will stay on.

The summer box office for the Mouse House looks like another record breaker as Pirates of the Caribbean Five hits the high seas. Additionally, the slate has Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, beginning with Beauty and the Beast; (March 17th), Disneynature’s Born in China, (April 21st); Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, (May 5th); Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, (May 26th); Cars 3, (June 16th); Thor: Ragnarok, (November 3rd); Coco (November 22nd); Star Wars: Episode VIII, (December 15th).

While contract negations are a strategic move, the recently turned 66-year-old Iger (his birthday on Friday, February 10,) gives him ample time to retire which has remained the crux of his contract talks.

His actions however speak a different message. Known at one time as the ax man, partings were quick and swift if the bottom-line was at all threatened.

His hire of former Warner Bros CEO, Alan Horn, at 68, a relationship that has endured for more than five years, with Horn soon to be 74, there are no red flags or warnings that Iger sees Horn’s age as a debilitating factor and the two, while there are no rumblings, seem to manage well and the company has enjoyed strong showings across all units.

So as Iger causally mentioned if the Board had the confidence in him and entrusted him with the position then, he would be open to an extension.

The message, at least for the well-tuned ear, is clear, Mr. Iger wants to retain his position at least through 2020. The company’s current standing make that option a strong possibility.  One would venture to add that even as the recent acquisitions have seen astronomical returns the best years for the Mouse House may still be on the horizon.

 

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