The Walt Disney Company board of directors Dec. 1 announced that it has named Susan Arnold as chairman of the board, effective Dec. 31, 2021. Arnold, a 14-year member of the media giant’s board who has served as its independent lead director since 2018, would replace Bob Iger when he departs the company at the end of the year. She also becomes the first female to head Disney’s board.
“Susan is the perfect choice for chairman, and I am confident the company is well-positioned for continued success under her guidance and leadership,” Iger said in a statement. “It has been a distinct honor to work with Susan and our many other talented directors, and I am incredibly grateful for the support and wise counsel they have provided during my tenure.”
Arnold brings extensive public-company board experience and in-depth knowledge of brand management and marketing, environmental sustainability, product and business development, international consumer markets, finance, and executive and risk management. She was formerly an operating executive of the equity investment firm The Carlyle Group, where she served from 2013 to 2021. Previously, she served as president — global business units of Procter & Gamble from 2007 to 2009.
Iger has served as board chairman since 2012, and as Disney’s executive chairman since 2020, directing the company’s creative endeavors. From 2005 to 2020 he was Disney’s CEO — the company’s longest-running chief executive. During his tenure, Iger built Disney into one of the world’s largest entertainment companies with the acquisitions of Pixar (2006), Marvel (2009), Lucasfilm (2012) and 21st Century Fox (2019), as well as the landmark 2016 opening of Shanghai Disney Resort, and the release of a number of record-setting films, including Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, Disney’s Frozen and Frozen 2, and the groundbreaking movie Marvel’s Black Panther.
Iger helped make Disney an industry leader through its creative content offerings across multiple platforms, most recently leveraging direct-to-consumer technology with the launch of the Disney+ streaming service in 2019 and ESPN+ in 2018.