Bob Iger arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Bob Iger has took the movie world by surprise by announcing that he is stepping down as C.E.O. of Disney. Iger’s departure marks the end of an era for Disney, having guided the company through many major acquisitions as well as the recent launch of the Disney+ streaming service.

Iger will now assume the role of executive chairman of the company and will lead the board until his contract expires at the end of 2021, as per The Hollywood Reporter. His immediate replacement, Bob Chapek, is a 27-year veteran with the company and has chaired Disney Parks, Experiences and Products since 2017.

A statement was released by Disney, including the following quote from Iger on his new successor:

“I have the utmost confidence in Bob and look forward to working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role and delves deeper into Disney’s multifaceted global businesses and operations, while I continue to focus on the Company’s creative endeavors.”

Iger had previously been expected to remain C.E.O. of the company until his contract expired, but this move instead allows him to work closely with Chapek to ensure a smooth transition and to help him adapt to his new role.

Disney’s market value has increased hugely under Iger’s tenure since 2005, with the company having took over Marvel Studios, Pixar, 21st Century Fox and LucasFilm in the last few years. The box office has been dominated by Disney in recent years, with their recent “Avengers: Endgame” becoming the highest grossing film of all time. Their venture into the “Star Wars” universe has seen the franchise expand greatly, with various spin-off shows and films such as “The Mandalorian” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” accompanying the latest trilogy which concluded with “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”  In fact, of the 20 highest grossing films of the 2010s, 13 were released by Disney.

The addition of streaming service Disney+ is an attempt at further expanding the company into a market that is ever growing thanks to the likes of Netflix and Amazon, especially with the decline of their more traditional television channels in recent years.

Disney will hope that this transition period for the next year-and-a-half goes as smoothly as possible ahead of a brand new era for the company. The Iger era has made enormous changes to the cinematic landscape and it will be fascinating to watch where Disney go from here.

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