LOS ANGELES – Who will replace Robert A. Iger as executive director of the Walt Disney Company when he retires in July 2019?
It could be Robert A. Iger.
Disney is in talks to buy significant portions of 21st Century Fox, the media conglomerate controlled by the Murdoch family, and Rupert Murdoch has requested that any sale involve a commitment from Mr. Iger to extend his reign at Disney, by fourth time, to help manage the absorption of Fox's assets such as the FX cable channel and the Star television operation in India.
The request, reported Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal, was confirmed by two people informed about the approach Mr. Murdoch has taken in the talks, which warned that they could still fall apart. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are confidential.
Speculation about who could succeed Mr. Iger, 66, has increased in recent weeks. On Tuesday, some media outlets had Mr. Murdoch's son, James, the 21st Century Fox executive director, as a possible candidate. Last week, Bloomberg reported that Bob Chapek, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, could take Mr. Iger's place.
In truth, it is possible that Disney is still not sure. The company has been conducting a search since an heir, Thomas O. Staggs, resigned as chief operating officer in April 2016. Disney said in March this year that Mr. Iger had agreed to remain as chief executive until mid-2019, an extension of one year beyond your previously rejected retirement date. He has refused to discuss the succession since then.
Hollywood lately has had doubts about Mr. Iger. Some people close to him say that he would like to run for a political office, maybe even as president. Others believe that the Disney board would like him to retire him from retirement once again; Disney has his hands full even without a possible acquisition of the assets of 21st Century Fox.
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