Disney names Susan Arnold its first woman chair in 98-year history

Published 04 Dec, 2021 12:51pm

Arnold, who has been a board member for 14 years, will succeed Bob Iger at the end of December.

Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday tapped Susan Arnold as its chairman of the board, the first woman to be named to the role in the entertainment company's 98-year-long history.

Arnold, who has been a board member for 14 years, will succeed Bob Iger on December 31.

Iger, who stepped down as Disney's chief executive officer in 2020 after 15 years in the role, will leave the company by the end of this month.

“Susan is an incredibly esteemed executive whose wealth of experience, unwavering integrity, and expert judgment have been invaluable to the Company since she first joined the Board in 2007,” said Iger in a statement released by Disney.

“Having most recently served as independent Lead Director, Susan is the perfect choice for Chairman of the Board, and I am confident the Company is well-positioned for continued success under her guidance and leadership. It has been a distinct honour to work with Susan and our many other talented directors, and I am incredibly grateful for the support and wise counsel they have provided during my tenure.”

Arnold's appointment comes at a time when big corporations are moving away from an organisational structure where the CEO and chairperson roles are held by a single person following a push by corporate-governance experts, shareholders and, in some cases, regulators to untangle the two roles.

Arnold was formerly an operating executive of equity investment firm The Carlyle Group. She has also served in executive roles at Procter and Gamble and McDonald's Corp.

Several other Disney executives have announced plans to leave by the end of 2021, including Studios head Alan Horn, president and chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television Gary Marsh and company general counsel Alan Braverman.