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Bob Iger Was This Close To Joining A Major Investment Firm Instead Of Returning To Disney

In 2020, the Walt Disney Company saw quite a shakeup within its corporate structure. Bob Iger, who had served as CEO since 2005 when he took over for Michael Eisner, made the decision to leave the company. Although, this landmark shift wouldn't take place in the blink of an eye. Iger only gave up his CEO position that year, handing it off to longtime Disney employee Bob Chapek and guiding the transition from his executive chairman position. He inevitably left this post behind as well in December 2021 for Susan Arnold to take up.

So, how has Bob Chapek done since taking over as Disney's CEO? Well, his tenure has proven a bit controversial, to say the least. He made headlines for spearheading efforts to increase the company's output of streaming media on Disney+, his plans to reopen Disney parks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and his back-and-forth messaging regarding Florida's "Don't Say Gay" Bill. Evidently, the direction he was taking the company wasn't favored by those around him, hence why it was shockingly decided to bring Bob Iger back to replace him on November 20, 2022.

Iger's comeback after roughly a year in retirement has the entertainment world floored, and understandably so. However, it very nearly didn't happen since Iger had his sights set on working with a major investment firm before Disney got ahold of him.

Iger nearly joined up with RedBird Capital

As Hollywood regains its bearings over Bob Iger's surprise re-hiring at Disney, Variety has come forward with an intriguing report. According to the publication's sources, Iger was in talks with the investment firm RedBird Capital Partners to potentially play a key role within it. As we now know, he didn't ultimately choose to work with the company, instead returning to a top position at Disney, but he was close to signing the dotted line at RedBird Capital. "At the end of the day, he'd rather be a CEO than an entrepreneur," an unnamed individual close to the situation told Variety of Iger's mindset.

In the short amount of time since Bob Iger returned to the Disney fold, he's wasted no time trying to get the company back on track. His first big move came on November 22, 2022, when he fired Kareem Daniel and began restructuring Disney's Media and Entertainment Distribution division. "I fundamentally believe that storytelling is what fuels this company, and it belongs at the center of how we organize our businesses," Iger said in a statement, explaining that changes are ahead in the next several months and that the company as a whole is striving to create a profitable, streamlined structure (via Yahoo! Finance).

Clearly, Bob Iger hasn't come back to work at Disney for the sake of sitting around and collecting a paycheck. He has big ideas in mind for it, so we'll have to see how they're implemented and how successful they are in the future.