Arnold will take over the role when Iger formally exits Disney on Dec. 31, according to the company. She has served on Disney’s board of directors since 2007 and as its lead independent director since 2018.
“Susan is an incredibly esteemed executive whose wealth of experience, unwavering integrity, and expert judgment have been invaluable to the Company since she first joined the Board in 2007,” Iger said in a statement. “Having most recently served as independent Lead Director, Susan is the perfect choice for Chairman of the Board, and I am confident the Company is well-positioned for continued success under her guidance and leadership.”
Arnold’s career includes stints as an operating executive at the asset management firm Carlyle Group and as president of global business units at Procter & Gamble. She was also a member of McDonald’s board of directors from 2008 to 2016.
As chairman, Arnold will be tasked with guiding Disney during its tumultuous recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a months-long shutdown of its theme parks and cruise lines.
“I look forward to continuing to serve the long-term interests of Disney’s shareholders and working closely with CEO Bob Chapek as he builds upon the Company’s century-long legacy of creative excellence and innovation,” Arnold said in a statement.
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Iger stepped down as CEO in February 2020. At the time, Disney said he would remain as executive chairman through the end of his contract on Dec. 31, 2021.
Iger played a key role in several of Disney’s most pivotable business ventures, including the launch of its streaming services and its acquisitions of 21st Century Fox, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars.