A spokeswoman for Mr. Egger said he was not available for an interview.
In recent months, with Disney’s problems mounting, senior executives have privately pressed Iger for a renewal. In its statement on Wednesday, Disney took pains to point out that it was the board of directors, not Mr. Iger, who pushed for the extension. Due to his serial contract renewals, a narrative has formed in Hollywood, rightly or wrongly, that he is reluctant to walk away from power. “The Board has determined that it is in the best interest of shareholders to extend its term, and has granted our request,” Parker, Disney Chairman, said in the statement, adding that Mr. Iger was indeed “putting Disney on the right strategic path for continued value creation.”
Shares of Disney traded at around $90, down 3 percent from a year ago and 54 percent from their peak in March 2021. After news of Mr. Iger’s extension, shares remained largely flat in after-hours trading.
The challenge is that in addition to succession, Disney is grappling with problems on nearly every front, including new questions about movie studios, given the disappointing summer box office results of “Elemental” and “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” and, to a lesser extent, “The Little Mermaid”. Disney has been maneuvering to buy full control of Hulu, but such a purchase would be costly, and Disney is saddled with about $45 billion in debt, in part because of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Disney’s profit engine for the past 30 years—traditional television, including ESPN—has become a shadow of its former self, as a result of cord cuts, poor advertising, and rising costs for sports programming. Mr. Iger is betting that streaming services will return the company to growth. But Disney+ shed subscribers, and the broader streaming division remains unprofitable, losing nearly $2 billion since the start of the fiscal year.
Disney also faces an ongoing screenwriters’ strike. And contract negotiations between the studios and SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents about 160,000 actors, have been going badly and could lead to a strike as early as Thursday.
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