Disney CEO’s contract renewed for another three years

Business

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is seen at Walt Disney World Resort’s Hollywood Studios on Aug. 7, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Walt Disney Co. is delaying by more than three years the opening of a campus in Florida to which 2,000 workers were being relocated from Southern California to work in digital technology, finance and product development. Despite being targeted in recent months by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature, Disney officials said Thursday, June 16, 2022 that the delay had nothing to do with any dispute with state officials. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

(NewsNation) — Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s contract was extended three years by the company’s board of directors Tuesday, despite recent controversies at the media giant.

The contract extension was unanimously approved, according to Reuters.

Chapek, 63, became Disney’s CEO in February 2020, succeeding Bob Iger months before the COVID-19 pandemic started and disrupted the company’s theme park, television, movie and streaming operations.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chapek’s $2.5 million base salary will stay the same in the new contract, which was originally going to expire in February. But the news outlet reported that his annual long-term incentive stock grant will be increased from $15 million to $20 million.

“Disney was dealt a tough hand by the pandemic, yet with Bob at the helm, our businesses — from parks to streaming — not only weathered the storm, but emerged in a position of strength,” board chair Susan Arnold said in a statement. “Bob is the right leader at the right time for The Walt Disney Company, and the board has full confidence in him and his leadership team.”

In his own statement, Chapek said, “Leading this great company is the honor of a lifetime, and I am grateful to the board for their support,” according to The New York Times.

But as the the Times noted, while Chapek’s team added 20 million new subscribers worldwide to the streaming service Disney+, The Walt Disney Company’s stock price has declined nearly 40%. The newspaper pointed out that two of these factors — a general stock market downtown and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, are out of Chapek’s control.

However, another factor is the controversy that surrounded Disney’s response to the Parental Rights in Education, dubbed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida. Employees demonstrated against Chapek’s slow response to speak out against the bill that bans instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

But while LGBTQ advocates criticized Chapek’s inaction, Disney also came under fire when the CEO did talk about it. Chapek, who had previously tried to avoid engaging in the politics of the bill, later said he talked to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and expressed Disney’s “disappointment and concern” that the legislation could be used to target gay, lesbian, nonbinary and transgender kids and families. The company also put out a statement, according to CNBC, saying its goal is for the law to be repealed or struck down.

DeSantis, a Republican who signed the Parental Rights in Education bill into law in March, later also signed a law to dissolve a private government controlled by Disney that provides municipal-like services for 27,000 acres in Florida. The new law was largely seen as retribution for Disney’s criticism of the controversial legislation.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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