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Bob Chapek
Bob Chapek (49607223226) (cropped).jpg
Chapek in 2020
Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company
Current holder
Assumed position
February 25, 2020 (2020-02-25)
Preceded byBob Iger
Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
February 23, 2015 (2015-02-23) – February 25, 2020 (2020-02-25)
Preceded byThomas O. Staggs
Succeeded byJosh D'Amaro
Personal details
Robert Chapek

(1960-08-21) August 21, 1960 (age 60)
Hammond, Indiana, U.S.
Cynthia Ann Ford
(m. 1980)

Bob Chapek (born August 21, 1960) is an American media executive and businessman who is chief executive officer (CEO) of The Walt Disney Company. Before becoming CEO on February 25, 2020, he had a 26-year career with The Walt Disney Company, beginning in the Home Entertainment division, and rising to become the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

Early life

Robert Chapek was born on August 21, 1960 in Hammond, Indiana to a working mother and father, Marie (Lofay) and Bernard W. Chapek.[1][2][3] His father was a World War II veteran. Because both of his parents worked, Chapek described himself as a "latch-key kid" at a time when this was uncommon.[4] Chapek said that watching both parents work "instilled a work ethic in me, and [they] worked hard for the nicer things in life. I saw their role-modeling, and it made a permanent impact on my drive and ambition."[5] His family went on annual trips to Walt Disney World.[6]

Chapek graduated from George Rogers Clark Jr./Sr. High School in 1977.[5] He later went on to get his bachelor's degree in microbiology at Indiana University Bloomington and his Master of Business Administration at Michigan State University.[7]

Early career

Chapek worked for the H. J. Heinz Company in brand management[6] and in advertising for J. Walter Thompson before joining The Walt Disney Company in 1993.[8]

Career with The Walt Disney Company

Home Entertainment

Chapek began his career with the Walt Disney Company in 1993. He started as the marketing director for the company's Buena Vista Home Entertainment division, which at that point was still very much focused on VHS tapes. The then-CEO Michael Eisner described Chapek by saying, "He was always an executive that you knew would be on the rise... He knew how to grow the business while adjusting to the changing marketplace, which was intense." Chapek is credited for bringing Disney's home entertainment division into the digital age, by focusing on releasing properties on DVD and later Blu-ray discs.[9]

In July 2006, he was promoted to become the president of Buena Vista Home Entertainment, which included all home video, DVD, and Blu-ray releases for all the various divisions.[10]

In 2009, he became president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios.[11]

President of Consumer Products

Chapek was appointed president of Disney Consumer Products in September 2011.[12] After the acquisition of Lucasfilm, Chapek integrated Star Wars merchandise into Disney's licensing program, ensuring that Disney became the world's largest licensor of intellectual property.[13] In 2013, Chapek secured a deal with Hasbro, whereby the toy company paid Disney $80 million in royalties to extend the license for Marvel toys and an agreement for Hasbro to pay Disney up to $225 million for the rights to forthcoming Star Wars merchandise.[14]

In 2014, Chapek launched the Disney Imagicademy, which was a suite of numerous tablet and smart-phone apps designed to give children high quality learning games.[15] This was Disney's first full foray into the learning-app market. Chapek said he spearheaded this initiative after numerous parents told his department that they found it difficult to find high quality learning apps out of the thousands that were available online.[16]

Chairman of Parks and Resorts

On February 23, 2015, Chapek was named chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts effective that day to replace Thomas O. Staggs, who was promoted to Disney Company Chief operating officer earlier in the month.[17][18] Chapek immediately began working towards the completion and launch of Shanghai Disneyland in 2016, which hosted over 11 million guests in its first year of operation.[19] He also oversaw the completion and launch of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom in 2017.[20] Chapek also directly managed the construction and opening of the new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.[21] Disney said of Galaxy's Edge, "It's the most immersive land we have ever built," citing the themed restaurants, shops and roaming interactive characters. Disney reportedly spent $1 billion on the sprawling 14-acre land in Disneyland in Anaheim, prompting CNN to comment that "Disney spared no expense."[22]

As Chairman of Parks and Resorts, Chapek invested over $24 billion into the theme parks, attractions, hotels and cruise ships. The New York Times noted that Chapek's spending was more money than Disney spent in acquiring Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm combined.[23]

In the fall of 2017, after parks and resorts recorded at 14% increase in operating income, many in the media began to speculate that Chapek would likely succeed Bob Iger as the next Disney CEO.[24][25]

However, during his time at parks and resorts, Chapek also drew sharp criticism from many in the Disney community. For instance, all of the expensive and ambitious projects (mentioned above) that were finished under Chapek were actually started under Tom Staggs. Meanwhile, the projects that were started under Chapek were seen as less than ambitious, such as the relatively safe Pixar Pier, Toy Story Land, as well as changes to EPCOT, among others. He was also criticized for the heavy use of existing intellectual property during his tenure at the parks, as there were little to no changes or additions during his tenure that didn't involve the use of existing intellectual property. Also, there was a reduction in scope and scale of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. In addition, there was also a decrease in maintenance throughout many of the parks during his time as Chairman of Parks and Resorts, similar to that when Paul Pressler was Chairman in the late 1990s and early 2000s.[26]

In March 2018, after a reorganization of divisions in order to prepare for the launch of Disney+, Chapek was given back the consumer products divisions (including the Disney Stores), in addition to his responsibilities for all of the parks and resorts and related experiences. Then, CEO Bob Iger said, "Bob [Chapek] comes to this new role with an impressive record of success at both parks and resorts and consumer products, and he is the perfect leader to run these combined teams." This furthered speculation that Chapek would be Iger's successor.[27][28][29]

In August 2019, Chapek announced that he had negotiated a retail collaboration to open 25 mini Disney Store shops within select Target department stores across the United States. Chapek stated that people who purchase Disney products were already likely to shop at Target, and the deal gives Disney the opportunity to expand its own footprint beyond traditional shopping malls.[30] The Disney mini-shops will be an average of 750 square feet and be located near Target's kids clothing and toy departments. They'll have more than 450 items, including more than 100 products previously only available at Disney retail locations.[31]

On May 18, 2020, Chapek announced Josh D'Amaro as his successor to the position of Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.[32]

Chief Executive Officer

In February 2020, Chapek was named chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company replacing Bob Iger, who will remain as Executive Chairman until 2021. This was considered a surprise to many Disney employees, who had seen Tom Staggs as the heir apparent to Bob Iger.[33] In April 2020, Chapek was elected to the Walt Disney Company's board of directors.[34] It was later revealed, the same month, that while Chapek remained CEO, Iger had resumed control of the company's operational duties for the time being, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[35]

In numerous interviews with financial news outlets during the pandemic, Chapek has said he is focusing on opening Disney's theme parks. In May 2020, Shanghai Disneyland opened with limited guest capacity capped at approximately 24,000 visitors per day, pursuant to government regulations. Chapek acknowledged that this was a "baby step" but found the attendance figures encouraging, considering that the limited number of tickets were selling out. Chapek vowed to increase capacity in the weeks to come, albeit in a conservative manner.[36][37]

Chapek stated that when Walt Disney World opens in July 2020, both employees and guests will be required to take temperature checks, wear face masks, and observe social distancing guidelines. He said that the company would continue to work with local government and healthcare professionals to open the parks responsibly. He added that when the parks reopened, the first attraction he'll ride will be Pirates of the Caribbean.[38][39] In October 2020, Chapek agreed to keep Disney World at only 25% capacity until the CDC issued new guidance, and also stated that with regards to reopening Disneyland in California, "It's not much of a negotiation. It's pretty much a mandate that we stay closed."[40] In March 2021, after California eased COVID-19 restrictions, he then stated, "Here in California, we're encouraged by the positive trends we're seeing and we're hopeful they'll continue to improve and we'll be able to reopen our Parks to guests with limited capacity by late April."[41] By July 2021, Walt Disney World had officially ended their mask mandate (except while on Disney transportation) and temperature checks, and were operating at higher capacity.[42] That same month, fireworks shows at both Disney World and Disneyland returned.[43]

In October 2020, Chapek spoke about the company's decision to begin focusing on streaming media, including Disney+, and direct-to-consumer advertising.[44] Multiple films that were originally slated for theatrical releases, including Mulan and Soul, skipped theaters and were instead released only to Disney+ for a premium fee.[45][46]

Personal life

Chapek has been married to his wife Cynthia since 1980 and together they have three children and four grandchildren.[6]


  1. ^ "Disney CEO: Bob Chapek Biography". June 26, 2020.
  2. ^ Correspondent, LOUISA MURZYN-Times. "Region native has keys to Magic Kingdom".
  3. ^ "MARIE CHAPEK Obituary (2015) The Times".
  4. ^ Potempa, Philip (November 13, 2009). "Hammond native earns a princely position at Disney". The Times of Northwestern Indiana. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Muryzn, Louisa (December 1, 2009). "Region Native has Keys to Magic Kingdom". The Times of Northwest Indiana.
  6. ^ a b c Low, Elaine (February 26, 2020). "Bob Chapek: Who Is the New Disney CEO?". Variety. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  7. ^ Potempa, Philip. "OFFBEAT with PHIL POTEMPA: Disney career magic continues for Hammond's Bob Chapek". The Northwest Indiana Times. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  8. ^ Miller, Daniel (February 23, 2015). "Disney names company veteran Bob Chapek to head parks and resorts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  9. ^ Pedicini, Sandra (March 10, 2015). "Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek Focuses on Tech, Franchises". Orlando Sentinel.
  10. ^ "Bob Chapek, Walt Disney Co: Profile and Biography". Bloomberg. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  11. ^ Graser, Marc (February 5, 2015). "Disney Promotion Raises CFO, Theme Park Questions". Variety. Retrieved February 25, 2020. Chapek had been president of distribution for the Walt Disney Studios for two years and was president of the studios’ homevideo arm prior to that.
  12. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn C. (September 10, 2011). "Disney names Robert Chapek head of consumer products group". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  13. ^ "Disney Consumer Products Poised for Incremental Retail Sales Growth with Lucasfilm Licensing and Robust Content Pipeline". June 18, 2013.
  14. ^ Spangler, Todd (July 22, 2013). "Hasbro Extends Disney Pact for Marvel, Star Wars Toys and Games". Variety.
  15. ^ Ha, Anthony (December 4, 2014). "Disney Will Launch Its First Imagicademy Learning Apps On Dec. 11". Tech Crunch.
  16. ^ "Disney's New App with Mickey and Friends Makes Learning Magical". The National News. December 13, 2014.
  17. ^ Barnes, Brooks (February 23, 2015). "Disney Names Robert Chapek Chairman for Theme Parks". New York Times. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  18. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (February 5, 2015). "Disney Promotes Tom Staggs to No. 2 Post, Positioning Him as Iger's Successor". Variety. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  19. ^ Hancock, Tom (June 18, 2017). "Shanghai Disney welcomes 11m visitors in first year". Financial Times.
  20. ^ Meltzer, Hannah (November 29, 2016). "Fancy a Trip to Pandora? Inside the new Disney Project Bringing Avatar to Life". The Telegraph.
  21. ^ "Disney Parks Name Star Wars lands Galaxy's Edge". CNBC. July 16, 2017.
  22. ^ Pallotta, Frank (May 30, 2019). "Disney Spared No Expense in Building Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge". CNN.
  23. ^ Barnes, Brooks (November 16, 2018). "Disney Is Spending More on Theme Parks Than It Did on Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm Combined". The New York Times.
  24. ^ Ellingson, Annlee (November 28, 2017). "Bob Iger Successor Emerges at Disney". L.A. Biz.
  25. ^ Palmeri, Christopher (November 27, 2017). "Disney Theme Parks Boss Could Be Tapped as Next CEO". Skift.
  26. ^ "Who Is Disney CEO Bob Chapek? Everything to Know About the Exec". Collider. February 27, 2020.
  27. ^ Gruenwedel, Erik (March 14, 2018). "Bob Chapek Expands Duties in Disney Reorganization". Media Play News.
  28. ^ Perez, Sarah (March 14, 2018). "Disney Announces Strategic Reorganization Ahead of the Launch of Netflix Rival". Tech Crunch.
  29. ^ Palmeri, Christopher (March 14, 2018). "Disney Elevates Two Top Executives in Possible CEO Bake-Off". Bloomberg.
  30. ^ Thomas, Lauren (August 25, 2019). "Disney is Putting Dozens of Stores inside Target Locations while Target Set to Open at Walt Disney World Resort". CNBC.
  31. ^ Tyko, Kelly (August 25, 2019). "Disney and Target Announce 25 Disney Shops Coming to Target Stores in October". USA Today.
  32. ^ Parker, Ryan. "Josh D'Amaro Named Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products | Hollywood Reporter".
  33. ^ "Bob Chapek named Walt Disney Co. CEO, replacing Bob Iger". Los Angeles Times. February 25, 2020.
  34. ^ "New Disney CEO Bob Chapek elected to the board". Los Angeles Times. April 15, 2020. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  35. ^ Smith, Ben (April 13, 2020). "Bob Iger Thought He Was Leaving on Top. Now, He's Fighting for Disney's Life". New York Times. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  36. ^ Whitten, Sarah (May 8, 2020). "Shanghai Disneyland Tickets Sellout for Opening Day, Signaling Pent Up Demand for Theme Parks". CNBC.
  37. ^ Bursztynsky, Jessica (May 11, 2020). "Disney Will Increase Shanghai Park Attendance by 5,000 Per Week, CEO Bob Chapek Says". CNBC.
  38. ^ Pallotta, Frank (May 28, 2020). "Disney CEO Explains Why It's Safe to Go Back to Disney World". CNN.
  39. ^ "Disney CEO Chapek Confident in Safety of Theme Park Reopening Plan". Bloomberg. May 27, 2020.
  40. ^ Deerwester, Jayme (October 13, 2020). "Disney World attendance to stay capped; Disneyland reopening 'not much of a negotiation,' CEO says". USA Today. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  41. ^ "Disneyland in California eyes 'late April' reopening: CEO". Yahoo! News. March 9, 2021. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^

External links

Business positions
Preceded by
Bob Iger
CEO of The Walt Disney Company
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 27 July 2021, at 14:12
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