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Disney will focus on “creativity” under returning CEO Bob Iger

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Disney owns the right to Return of the Jedi – but on Monday it was Bob Iger’s return.


Rodin Eckenroth and Getty Images

Bob Iger in 2020.

The CEO, who made a surprise comeback to the top job at the media and entertainment conglomerate last week, received his first employee town hall on Monday, according to news reports from the meeting.

“I am extremely optimistic about the future of this great company and I am thrilled that the board of directors is asking me to return as CEO,” he said said in a statement when taking the job.

At Monday’s meeting, the veteran CEO discussed his priorities at the company, namely creativity and cost efficiency, as well as the company’s ongoing hiring freeze.

Related: Bob Iger returns as CEO of Disney and Bob Chapek steps down effective immediately

Iger served as Disney’s CEO from 2005 to 2020 and served as executive chairman of the board through 2021. He ruled the company during a very successful period, especially in the creative field. including the purchase of Marvel Studios and Pixar. He said several times in the past year that he would not going back to Disney.

His predecessor, Bob Chapek, had a hard time at Disney over his reaction to Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, a public struggle with Scarlett Johansson, a slump in the company’s stock — it’s down almost 40% from the start of the year — and continued to lift heavy to make Disney+ profitable. In recent times, fans have also repeatedly expressed frustration with cost increases at various Disney institutions.

Related: ‘I can go to Europe cheaper’: a trip to Disney costs more than ever before

Chapek announced plans earlier this month to cut costs, including reducing business travel and curtailing hiring.

At Monday’s meeting, Iger said the company will abide by the staff freeze put in place by Chapek. “It felt like it was the sensible thing to do in terms of the challenges, and right now I have no plans to change it,” he said, per CNBC.

And while Iger believes creative work is best done in person, he has no plans to require Disney employees to return to the office, the outlet added.

The major focus is said to be indeed on creativity. “Some of you who have worked with me know I’m obsessed with it… But I’m obsessed with it for a reason. It’s what drives the business,” he said, per CNN. He added that the focus will be on quality, not quantity.

Iger will also cut costs through corporate restructuring. He has already announced that Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney’s media and entertainment distribution division, will leave the company.

More cost cuts could be on the way, particularly for Disney+ (including Hulu and ESPN+), which lost $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter, sending the company’s stock plummeting.

Disney has said of the get started that its streaming service won’t be profitable until 2024, but shareholders have stepped up their pressure on the company as economic conditions worsen.

Disney’s streamers need to focus less on “chasing subscriptions with aggressive marketing and aggressive spending on content,” Iger said, per CNN.

Instead, Disney+ should focus on chasing profitability, which could mean the company will look “very, very hard” at the division’s spending, Iger said, per CNN.

Some have speculated that budget cuts could affect plans to update or create new attractions at Disney’s various theme parks.


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