Disney elects feminine chairperson | World Branding Discussion board

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Susan Arnold, elected chairman of Disney. IMAGE SOURCE – WALT DISNEY COMPANY

For the first time in its 98-year history, Disney has elected a woman to be the company’s new chairman. Susan Arnold, who has served on the Disney board of directors for 14 years, will succeed Bob Iger later this year.

Arnold was previously an executive with the global investment firm Carlyle. Mr Iger, who stepped down as Disney CEO in 2020 after 15 years in this role, will be leaving the company by the end of this month.

“As I take on this new role as CEO, I look forward to continuing to serve the long-term interests of Disney shareholders and working closely with CEO Bob Chapek as he builds on the company’s centuries-old legacy of creative excellence and innovation,” said Mrs. Arnold in a statement.

Arnold has also held senior positions at some of the largest American companies.

For the past eight years she was an executive at the Carlyle Group, prior to which she held positions at consumer goods giant Procter and Gamble and fast food chain McDonald’s.

“Susan is an incredibly valued leader whose experience, unwavering integrity, and expert judgment have been invaluable to the company since joining the board in 2007,” said Iger.

Her appointment comes as large companies move away from management structures in which the roles of chief executive and chairman are occupied by the same person after pressure from corporate governance experts, investors and, in some cases, regulators to separate the two key roles.

Mr. Iger’s departure marks the end of an era for Disney, who has been with the company in a senior position since 1996.

During his tenure as CEO, Disney made a number of key acquisitions, including the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. In 2016, the company opened its first theme park and resort in mainland China.

Several other Disney executives have announced they will be leaving by the end of this year, including studio boss Alan Horn, president and chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television Gary Marsh, and general counsel Alan Braverman.