The Walt Disney Company has elected a woman to its board of directors for the first time in the entertainment giant’s 98-year history.
Susan Arnold, who has been a Disney board member for 14 years, will succeed Bob Iger at the end of this year.
Susan Arnold was previously an executive at the global investment firm Carlyle.
Iger will leave the company at the end of this month, after he resigned as CEO of Disney in 2020 after 15 years in the position,
“As I step into the new role as Chair of the Board of Directors, I look forward to continuing to serve the long-term interests of Disney shareholders, and working closely with CEO Bob Chuckle, who continues the company’s century-long legacy of creative excellence,” Arnold said in a statement.
Susan has also worked in other senior positions at some of the largest US companies.
Over the past eight years, Susan Arnold has held executive positions at The Carlyle Group, and has previously worked at major companies, including consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble and fast food chain McDonald’s.
“Susan is a highly respected CEO, with a wealth of experience and integrity, and an expert sense of invaluable judgment since she first joined the board in 2007,” said Iger.
Her appointment comes as major companies are moving away from management structures in which the same person holds the roles of CEO and chairman after pressure from corporate governance experts, investors and, in some cases, some bodies that favor the separation of the two positions.
Iger’s exit marks the end of an era for Disney, during which he has held a major role at the company since 1996.
During his tenure as CEO of Disney, Iger managed to complete the acquisition of major companies, including Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox. In 2016, the company opened the first theme park and resort in China.
A number of Disney executives have announced their intention to leave the company by the end of this year, including chief operating officer of the studios, Alan Horn, president and chief creative officer of popular Disney Television, Gary Marsh, and company general counsel Alan Braverman.
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