Today, Time Magazine named The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger its Businessperson of the Year. Each year, Time names a Person of the Year, along with an Athlete, Guardian (public servant), Entertainer, and Businessperson of the Year.
Time calls Iger’s success at Disney “one long CEO highlight reel,” but adds that that 2019 “was an apex year,” blending creativity and technology with a good business plan.
“…in a year when the tide has shifted against Big Business, Big Media and Big Tech, Iger has transformed his enormous media company into a gargantuan media and tech business while ensuring that the Walt Disney Co.’s products remain widely beloved.”
Iger reflects on 2019, saying:
“This has been probably one of the most productive years we’ve had as a company in the 15 years that I’ve been in this job. This time last year, we had not closed the deal for Fox. We had not opened up two Star Wars Lands, we had not launched Disney+. We had not closed the deal for control of Hulu.”
Time adds that despite the huge successes, Iger has managed to make it through 45 years, 20 jobs, and 14 bosses without making any major enemies.
Even with the successes of 2019, Time says the future is not a sure thing: will the $3 gamble on Disney+ pay off; what happens next with the Star Wars and Avengers franchises; can Hong Kong Disneyland survive the current protests; and when will Iger finally name a successor.
Iger not ready to relax just yet, even with a 2021 retirement date on the horizon. Time asked Iger which intellectual property he would buy next (Harry Potter, Gandalf, or James Bond, for example) and Iger said, “We’re not looking to buy anything right now, but I’ve always been a James Bond fan.”
Illustration: Tom O’Brien for Time / Photo: Peter Hapak for Time