NACD Board Leadership Conference NACD Chapter System

Robert Iger Likely to Extend Tenure as Disney CEO Past 2019

"Walt Disney Co.'s possible purchase of the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox Inc. could mean more time for Robert Iger as Disney's chief executive," states the Wall Street Journal (Dec. 7, Fritz). Disney is in talks to purchase assets of 21st Century Fox valued at nearly $40 billion. The deal could be announced as early as late next week, Journal sources say, and would likely close in late 2018. Disney would then spend much of the following year integrating the two companies' assets. "Iger has said he plans to retire in July of 2019," notes the newspaper. "If the deal goes through, he would likely stay longer as a stipulation of the agreement in order to help with the integration of assets and the strategic positioning of the combined businesses." During his 12-year tenure, Iger has announced four different retirement dates.

The New York Times (Dec. 7, Barnes), meanwhile, is reporting that Fox head Rupert Murdoch has asked that any sale involve Iger formally committing to extend his reign at Disney to help manage the absorption of Fox assets like the FX cable channel and the Star television operation in India. The request was confirmed by two sources briefed on the approach that Murdoch has taken in the talks, which they warned could still fall apart. The two spoke on the condition of anonymity because the negotiations are confidential. "Hollywood has lately been of two minds about Iger," notes the newspaper. "Some people close to him say he would like to run for political office, perhaps even president." Others believe that Disney's board of directors is certainly supportive of him pushing off his retirement yet again.