Disney stock rose about 9% Monday morning. As of Friday’s close, the company’s shares had fallen about 40% so far this year.
Chapek, who replaced Iger as CEO in early 2020, had come under increasing criticism and scrutiny over the company’s performance in recent months. Its most recently quarterly earnings report, which hit earlier this month, arrived with a thud, sending shares down dramatically. Three days after that report, Chapek told his lieutenants in a memo that Disney would seek to cut costs through hiring freezes, layoffs and other means.
Still, the decision to replace Chapek with Iger stunned the business world. Iger, who worked for 15 years as Disney’s chief, had said previously that he would not return to the job, while the company renewed Chapek’s contract earlier this year as he pressed his reorganization vision for Disney.
Chapek took over just before the Covid pandemic severely cramped Disney’s business, shutting its theme parks and keeping its movies out of theaters for months. As Chapek helped the company weather that storm, with Iger still serving as chairman through December of last year, the company’s stock climbed to just above $200 at one point in 2021.
Since then, Disney’s shares have tumbled. They closed lower than $100 on Friday.