Susan Arnold becomes Disney’s first woman chairman in its 98-year history

Bob Iger steps down, passing the mantle to Susan Arnold, who has been a Disney board member for the past 14 years

It has been 98 years since The Walt Disney Company came into existence. And now, just short of a couple years to a century, the company will have a woman as its chairman.

With Bob Iger stepping down as chairman, the mantle is being passed on to Susan Arnold, who has been serving as a board member at Disney for the past 14 years.

It may be recalled that Iger stepped down as Disney’s chief executive in 2020 after serving 15 years. He will leave the company by the end of this month. And that is when Susan Arnold will step in as new chief.

Susan Arnold credited with a chequered career

A former executive at Carlyle, a global investment firm, Arnold has been quoted by a company statement saying that as she steps into the new role as chairman of the board, she “looks 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 century-long legacy of creative excellence and innovation.”

Susan Arnold has had a chequered career working with some of the largest corporations in the US. Prior to her stint at Carlyle, she had held leadership positions at companies of the likes of Procter and Gamble and McDonald’s.

Meanwhile, a look at Bob Iger’s contribution at Disney would be significant. His stepping down would mean the end of a great era for Disney, as he is credited with leading the company towards a clutch of fresh acquisitions.

Disney owes much to Iger

Iger as chief executive at The Walt Disney Company had overseen takeovers of major players in the entertainment arena, and they include Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, 21st Century Fox.

Further as chief executive, Iger effectively steered Disney’s big foray into mainland China happen in 2016, when the company opened its first theme park and resort – Shanghai Disney Resort – in the Asian nation.

Iger leaves the organisation after a slew of record-setting films such as Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, Disney’s Frozen and Frozen 2, and Marvel’s Black Panther were released and are still applauded.

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