When Bob Iger returned as Disney’s CEO in November, one of the biggest challenges facing him is finding a successor, following the failure of Bob Chapek’s reign as CEO, which saw the stock price crumble and getting involved in a culture war.

Originally, it was announced that Bob Iger was returning for only two years, to set out Disney’s long-term plan, get it out of the hole it was in and to find a successor.  However, earlier this month, Disney revealed that Bob Iger had signed a contract extension and will remain CEO until 2026, as he continues to restructure Disney.

Over the weekend, Puck News has revealed that Bob Iger has turned to two former right-hand men, Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, who have been brought back into the fold at Disney as advisors, to try to help Iger sort out the company’s linear and streaming business.  They are also going to be working with ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro to examine strategic options for its future.   Earlier this month, Bob Iger spoke about looking for a strategic partner for ESPN.  Kevin Mayer recently stepped down as the director of the streaming sports platform DAZN.

Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs worked at Disney for years, until they left the company when Iger chose Bob Chapek as his successor.  The duo, with backing from private equity group Blackstone, went on to create Candle, a media group, which is behind hit shows like “Cocomelon” and “Tiny Beautiful Things”.

Tom Stagg has previously held many roles at Disney, including chief financial officer, chief operating officer and head of theme parks.  Since leaving Disney in 2016, he has held roles at Spotify and CBS.  While, Kevin Mayer was one of the key people responsible for buying 20th Century Fox, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, BamTech and the creation of Disney+.

The news of them returning as advisors for Iger will no doubt increase speculation that they could end up returning to Disney to replace Bob Iger eventually in 2026.   Though, likely, that might only be possible if Disney was to purchase Candle Media, which would cost billions of dollars, which Disney might not be in a position to do. However, Disney would be able to take advantage of getting popular access to shows from studios Mooonbug and Hello Sunshine.

Other potential candidates to replace Bob Iger include Dana Walden, who is currently the co-chair of Disney Entertainment, alongside film chief Alan Bergman and Josh D’Amaro, who is currently running the theme park division.

Both men have worked within Disney for many years and have held many roles, so understand how the company works, so hopefully, their advice will help Bob Iger come up with a strategy for the future and maybe even possibly make a full-time return to lead the company into the next era.

Only earlier this year, during a interview at this year’s SportsPro OTT Summit USA in New York, when asked about returning to Disney, Kevin Meyer said:   “As for Disney, we’ll see what happens.”

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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