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Tom Staggs Stepping Down at Disney Co., Creating Succession Question

Image: Tom Staggs Stepping Down at Disney Co., Creating Succession Question
Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Tom Staggs arrives at the Sun Valley Lodge for the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference on July 8, 2014 in Sun Valley, Idaho. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 05 Apr 2016 08:30 AM

Tom Staggs said he will step down as the chief operating officer at the Walt Disney Company, creating doubt about who will replace chief executive Robert Iger, who said he'll retire in 2018.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Staggs, 55, was seen as the heir apparent to Iger, 65, after taking over the chief operating officer post in 2015 and had been described as a longtime personal friend of the Disney boss.

A source told the newspaper that Staggs moved to step down after the Disney board's recent decision to broaden its search for Iger's successor. This signaled to Staggs that his rise was hardly guaranteed.

"After the promotion, as Mr. Staggs came under intense scrutiny by Disney’s board, it became clear that at least some board members were not convinced he had the skills required to maintain Disney's creative momentum," wrote The New York Times.

"While Mr. Staggs has extensive financial experience, his résumé is light when it comes to the successful creation of movies and television shows," the Times continued.

Staggs did not have the support of Marvel Entertainment's chief executive, Isaac Perlmutter, nor some other Disney shareholders. The failure of Leslie Ferraro as Disney's merchandising chair, who Staggs had pushed for, hurt him as well.

Staggs will continue in a role as special advisor to Iger through October, the end of Disney's fiscal year, according to The Wall Street Journal. Staggs earned a reported $20 million last fiscal year.

"Tom has been a great friend and trusted colleague for more than 20 years," Iger said of Staggs, according to Forbes magazine. "He's made important contributions to this company, earning wide respect across the organization for his achievements and personal integrity. I'm proud of what we've accomplished together, immensely grateful for the privilege of working with him, and confident that he will be enormously successful in whatever opportunity he chooses."

Forbes wrote that Staggs played a huge role in ushering the $5.5 billion Disneyland Shanghai theme park. He also put together deals as Disney's chief financial officer that allowed the company to buy Pixar in 2007 and Marvel in 2009.

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Tom Staggs said he will step down as the chief operating officer at the Walt Disney Company, creating doubt about who will replace chief executive Robert Iger, who said he'll retire in 2018.
tom staggs, disney, robert iger
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2016-30-05
Tuesday, 05 Apr 2016 08:30 AM
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