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Disney Names Nike Executive Mark Parker New Chairman


New York

The Walt Disney Company has named Nike executive chairman Mark Parker as its new chairman of the board, replacing longtime executive Susan Arnold, whose term is expiring.

Parker, a Disney board member since 2016, takes the reins of Disney’s board at a time of transition for America’s largest media company. Bob Iger recently returned as CEO after a brief hiatus.

“Mark Parker’s vision, incredible experience and wise counsel have been invaluable to Disney, and I look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role, along with our other directors, as we chart the course. future of this incredible company,” Iger said in a statement.

In 2019, Parker stepped down as CEO of Nike after 13 years at the helm. Disney said one of Parker’s qualifications as chairman of the board was that he successfully transitioned from CEO to Nike. Disney on Wednesday announced the formation of a CEO succession committee to replace Iger, who said in November he would return as chief executive for just two years.

“It is my top priority and that of the board to identify and groom a successful CEO successor, and that process has already begun,” Parker said in a statement Wednesday.

Iger’s return shocked the media industry. Disney ousted Bob Chapek, who replaced Iger in 2020 as CEO.

Among the issues Disney is facing: Its streaming business lost $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter. And Disney’s media networks are struggling as the cord-cutting gathers pace and once-lucrative outlets like ESPN lose viewership. Dan Loeb, the activist investor and CEO of Third Point, made headlines in August when he suggested “it’s arguable that the ESPN business should be transferred to shareholders with appropriate leverage.” .

Another group of activist shareholders, Trian Partners, has appointed its leader Nelson Peltz as a director. Disney said Wednesday it would work with Peltz but opposed his appointment to the board.

“Mr. Iger’s mandate is to use his two-year tenure and extensive industry experience to adapt the business model to the changing media landscape, rebalancing investments with revenue opportunities while putting focus on creative talent that has made The Walt Disney Company the envy of the industry,” the company said in its opposition to Peltz.

Arnold, the outgoing president, had served on Disney’s board of directors since 2007. She was announced as head of the board on December 31, 2021.

She praised Parker for helping Disney through a tough time for the company and the wider media industry.

“Mark Parker is an incredibly respected leader who, for seven years as director of Disney, helped the company navigate effectively through a period of unprecedented change,” Arnold said in a statement.

Iger praised Arnold for his “superb leadership…and for his tireless work over the past 15 years as an exemplary Disney brand executive.”

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