Bob Iger isn't the only CEO who was asked to come back. Here are 5 men who returned to run their former companies.

Bob Iger isn't the only CEO who was asked to come back. Here are 5 men who returned to run their former companies.
  • Bob Iger's return isn't unusual. Several other CEOs have been asked to resume their previous roles.
  • This is his second time serving as the company's CEO, after stepping down in 2020.

Robert Iger, 71, will retake his role as CEO of Walt Disney Co. after the board of directors ousted its most recent leader, Bob Chapek.

Iger acted as Disney's CEO from 2015 to 2020. He initially left due to his wavering leadership, including "listening less and maybe with a little less tolerance of other people's opinions," according to an exclusive interview with CNBC.

Despite stating publicly that he didn't have plans to return to Disney, and focusing instead on investing and advising startups, he was brought back to lead the company through an adjustment period, according to a statement from chairman of the Disney board Susan Arnold.

"The board has concluded that as Disney embarks on an increasingly complex period of industry transformation, Bob Iger is uniquely situated to lead the company through this pivotal period," Arnold told the Wall Street Journal in a statement.

Iger takes the helm after a successful year for Disney's theme-park business: Parks revenue increased to $7.4 billion in the fourth quarter from $5.5 billion in the same quarter last year. However, he's tasked with improving Disney's streaming service content and strategy, according to the Wall Street Journal. In the most recent quarter, the streaming service lost $1.47 billion, which is more than double the loss from 2021.

Iger is one of a handful of boomerang CEOs who've returned to the companies they once ran. Here are four other CEOs who came back for a second act, listed in chronological order of their return.


Robert Iger, Walt Disney Co.

Robert Iger, Walt Disney Co.
Robert Iger, Walt Disney CEOJerod Harris/Getty Images

Name: Robert Iger

Company: Walt Disney Co.

When he originally started: 2015

When he originally left: 2020. However, he remained a chairman until 2021, when he left the company entirely.

When he returned: 2022. Iger returned to focus on improving the streaming service, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Howard Schultz, Starbucks

Howard Schultz, Starbucks
Howard Schultz, CEO of StarbucksJim Bennett/Getty Images

Name: Howard Schulz

Company: Starbucks

When he originally started: Became CEO in 1987.

When he originally left: 2000. Schultz departed his role and became global chief strategist and chairman to focus on international expansion, according to Starbucks.

When he returned: 2008 and 2022. In 2008, he replaced Jim Donald as CEO after the company stock dropped 50% in one year. He was tasked with bringing the company to sustainable, profitable growth, according to Starbucks.

However, Schultz stepped down for the second time in 2017. Then, he retired from the company and his chairman position in 2018.

In April 2022, he was reinstated as interim CEO until the next CEO Laxman Narasimhan takes over in 2023.


Jack Dorsey, Twitter

Jack Dorsey, Twitter
Jack Dorsey, founder of TwitterMARCO BELLO/Getty Images

Name: Jack Dorsey

Company: Twitter

When he originally started: Cofounded the company in 2006.

When he left: 2008. Dorsey was fired when the board of directors didn't agree with Dorsey's leadership style and gave the CEO role to cofounder Evan Williams, according to Fortune.

When he returned: 2015. Dorsey replaced former CEO Dick Costolo when he stepped down from the role.

In November 2021, Dorsey resigned from Twitter.

Michael Dell, Dell Inc.

Michael Dell, Dell Inc.
Michael Dell, CEO of DellDiego Donamaria/Getty Images

Name: Michael Dell

Company: Dell Inc.

When he originally started: Founded the company in 1984.

When he originally left: 2004. Dell transitioned to chairman and Kevin Rollins, the company's president, took over. The change in titles reflected the functions the men perform, the company told the New York Times. Additionally, he wanted to spend more time on his philanthropic work, according to Reuters.

When he returned: 2007. Dell assumed his old role after his successor, Rollins, was fired. Dell then bought the company out in 2013. He's still serving as the CEO today.


Steve Jobs, Apple

Steve Jobs, Apple
Steve Jobs, founder of AppleDavid Paul Morris/Getty Images

Name: Steve Jobs

Company: Apple

When he originally started: Cofounded the company in 1976. However, Michael Scott was hired as CEO in 1977.

When he originally left: Jobs was fired in 1985 after a failed boardroom coup. He went on to launch the startup NeXT.

When he returned: 1997. John Sculley was then replaced by Michael Spindler, who was later replaced by Gil Amelio. But in 1996, Apple acquired NeXT and brought Jobs back to Apple. He became CEO the following year and stayed in the role until he died of pancreatic cancer in 2011.