In a shockingly timed move, Bob Iger, longtime chairman-CEO of Walt Disney, is resigning, effective immediately.
Replacing him is Disney veteran senior executive Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. He will have the title of Chief Executive Officer.
Iger will continue as executive chairman of Disney through 2021.
Disney stock was down 2.5% in after market trading to $125.58.
Iger, who signed a contract a few months ago to extend his role through the end of 2021, has recently directed the highly successful launch of the premium Disney+ video platform. It is now at nearly 30 million subscribers after starting up in November.
For some time, analysts had anticipated that Iger was looking to depart. Part of the process consisted of finding the right executive to replace him. Potential candidates included included Chapek and Kevin Mayer, chairman of direct-to-consumer and International of Walt Disney.
"The timing surprised us," said Michael Nathanson, media analyst, MoffettNathanson Research, on CNBC. But he added that Chapek being named CEO was not a surprise. Previously, Chapek headed up Disney Consumer Products division. Nathanson says that as a longtime Disney executive, Chapek has been successful at every level.
Iger has been responsible for massive stock market growth at Disney since he started as CEO in 2005, taking over for Michael Eisner -- and seeing the company’s stock rise over 430%.
During his tenure, Disney has seen major transitional change at the company -- making billion dollars deals for Marvel Entertainment, LucasFilm, Pixar Animation Studios, and more recently, half of 21st Century Fox. Also, under his leadership, Disney opened Shanghai Disney Resort.