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Bob Iger Resumes Leadership Duties at Disney Amid Coronavirus Crisis

By Keith Noonan - Apr 13, 2020 at 9:21AM

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The company's former CEO is reportedly back to steering the ship.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that former Disney (DIS -1.72%) CEO Bob Iger has effectively returned to running the company. Iger stepped down as the head of the company on Feb. 25 and handed the duties to current CEO Bob Chapek, but it appears that circumstances stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic have prompted the former CEO to resume a more active leadership role. 

Chapek remains the company's CEO, and Iger is still listed in the executive chairman position he assumed after departing from the chief executive role. With unprecedented challenges facing the company due to the coronavirus crisis, Disney shareholders may find some reassurance in knowing that Iger is taking the lead in charting the business's course during uncertain times. 

Cinderella's Castle at night.

Image source: Disney.

What's next for Disney?

Iger's tenure as CEO at Disney lasted from 2005 to 2020, and the timing and abrupt announcement of his departure from the position in February added another dimension to investor concerns about the company's future. The coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic impact on Disney's operations and outlook, and the company is facing some dramatic headwinds in the near term.

The shutdown of sports leagues presents a big problem for the company's ESPN network, movie theaters are closed, entertainment productions and releases have been delayed, and the company's theme parks and cruises have ceased operations. Disney stock hit a lifetime high of $153.41 per share late last November, buoyed by strong subscriber numbers for its Disney+ streaming platform and a year of fantastic box-office performance, but its share price dipped as low as $79.07 in March and is still down more than 30% from its high. 

Keith Noonan owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney and short April 2020 $135 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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