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Iger, 72, returned to run the entertainment giant in November after previously serving as CEO for 15 years. Image Credit: AFP

California: Walt Disney extended the contract of CEO Bob Iger for another two years, giving the longtime executive more time to implement his turnaround and find a successor.

Under the new arrangement, Iger will remain CEO through December 31, 2026, the company said Wednesday in a statement.

Iger, 72, returned to run the entertainment giant in November after previously serving as CEO for 15 years. At the time, he was given a two-year deal expiring in December 2024. In addition to improving Disney’s profitability, he was charged with helping to find his replacement, a critical process for any company, but one that the company has bungled in recent years.

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Disney made the announcement while Iger was attending the annual Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. Also at the event, which features leaders from the worlds of entertainment, technology and finance, were several Disney executives viewed as potential successors: theme parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro, TV chief Dana Walden and film boss Alan Bergman.

“I think he’s one of the best CEOs that I’ve ever seen,” said Steve Pagliuca, a longtime media investor and co-owner of the Boston Celtics in an interview. “Disney shareholders should be thrilled.”

Iger, who came up through the company’s TV business, is credited with beefing up Disney’s creative arsenal. He acquired the Pixar animation studio shortly after becoming CEO in 2005, and later added Marvel’s superheros and Lucasfilm, parent of Star Wars. As a result, Disney dominated the movie industry with hit after hit in the 2010s. Iger also opened the Shanghai Disneyland resort.

Iger has had less success finding someone to replace him. After briefly making Chief Financial Officer Tom Staggs his second in command, the company named parks chief Bob Chapek as CEO in February 2020.

Chapek’s tenure, which coincided with the pandemic, was rocky, and the board fired him last year after he became embroiled in clashes with talent, staff, Disney fans and Florida officials.