Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings reacts to surprise news that Disney is bringing back Bob Iger: 'Ugh. I had been hoping Iger would run for president'
- Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings tweeted his reaction to the news that Bob Iger returned to Disney.
- Hastings wrote that he had been hoping Iger would run for US president.
The news that Bob Iger is rejoining Disney as CEO took those in the business world by surprise on Sunday evening — including Netflix co-founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings.
"Ugh. I had been hoping Iger would run for President," Hastings tweeted out late Sunday night in reaction to the news. "He is Amazing."
—Reed Hastings (@reedhastings) November 21, 2022
Iger is replacing Bob Chapek in the top spot less than three years after Iger passed the torch to him, having chosen Chapek personally as his successor.
Even though the 71-year old has said in multiple interviews that he wasn't interested in returning, Iger's decision to step up as CEO again stunned Wall Street, Hollywood executives, and media observers alike, Insider's Claire Atkinson reported. The shakeup happened after a group of high-level Disney employees had told Disney's board that they were considering leaving the company over frustrations from Chapek's leadership.
Iger has entertained the idea of a possible presidential run in the past.
The first time Iger said he considered a run was before the 2016 presidential elections, but he decided not to after his wife told him that it would ruin their lives, CNBC reported.
He considered running for president for a second time after the 2016 elections, saying that America was "gravely in need of optimism" in the wake of the Trump presidency. Still, he was met with resistance by his family once again and decided against it.
Looking back at his political aspirations, Iger told Variety during a 2021 interview that he was and was "really naive" about his leadership abilities and chances of winning. He considered running as a Democrat, but decided against it because he was worried that the Democratic party would not stand behind a successful businessman, CNBC reported.
Now, Iger will once again compete with Hastings and Netflix for streaming customers.
In 2017, Hastings said during an earnings call that he didn't see Disney's streaming services as a threat to Netflix, but rather "a great opportunity."
But that was five years ago, and today Disney's total subscriber base across Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN has surpassed Netflix's. Netflix has also faced headwinds of its own, which recently led to the service rolling out its first-ever ads-supported tier.
Disney, meanwhile, recently reported a $1.5 billion loss in revenue from its direct-to-consumer segment, which spooked Wall Street and saw Disney shares tank at the time to their lowest in 52 weeks.
Taking the helm once again, Iger will now try to right the ship under a two-year contract, and will meanwhile be tasked with finding a new successor.
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