Chief Executive magazine today announced that Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, has been named “2014 CEO of the Year,” an honor bestowed upon an outstanding corporate leader, nominated and selected by a group of CEO peers. This is the 29th year the award has been given, with past honorees including Bill Gates, former CEO of Microsoft, Jack Welch, former CEO of GE and Michael Dell, founder, chairman and CEO of Dell Computers.
“Even iconic brands need fixing from time to time,” says JP Donlon, Editor in Chief of Chief Executive magazine. “But instead of the easy fixes, Bob Iger played the long game by addressing Disney’s cultural issues head-on with a three-pronged strategy, making it a stronger, more profitable company with greater depth in its overall brand. For this reason, he is well-deserving of this year’s CEO of the Year honor.”
Just the sixth CEO in the company’s history, Iger, who took over the helm in October 2005, transformed the organization into a profit-making powerhouse. He acquired Pixar Animation Studios from Steve Jobs in 2006 and Marvel Entertainment in 2009. In 2012, Iger negotiated a deal for Lucasfilm, which gave Disney the rights to the Star Wars brand. During Iger’s tenure, Walt Disney’s 2013 shareholder return was 202 percent. In February of this year, the stock price hit an all-time closing high of $79.23, compared to just$23.81 when Iger first took over as CEO.
Nominations for CEO of the Year were garnered from among the readers of Chief Executive magazine. The 10 most frequently cited nominations were evaluated and a winner voted upon at a meeting of a peer Selection Committee, which took place earlier this year inNew York City.
The 2014 CEO of the Year Selection Committee was comprised of: David Cote, Chairman and CEO, Honeywell, and 2013 Chief Executive of the Year; Dan Glaser, President and CEO, Marsh & McLennan; Fred Hassan, chairman, Zx Pharma and partner/managing director, Healthcare at Warburg Pincus; Tamara Lundgren, President and CEO, Schnitzer Steel Industries; Tom Quinlan, President and CEO, RR Donnelley; Christine Jacobs, former chairman and CEO, Theragenics, and director, McKesson; Bob Nardelli, CEO, XLR-8, Bill Nuti, Chairman and CEO, NCR’ Jeff Sonnenfeld, President and CEO, Chief Executive Leadership Institute, Yale School of Management;Mark Weinberger, Chairman and CEO, EY; Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman and CEO, Frontier Communications; and Tom Saporito, Chairman and CEO, RHR International.
“Bob is a visionary and innovator who consistently delivers terrific performance across a diverse portfolio of businesses,” Dan Glasersaid.
“He’s been a disruptive innovator in taking the entertainment industry to another level using new media and new technology,” addedTom Quinlan. “He took a great brand and made it better, which isn’t easy to do.”
Iger’s 2014 CEO of the Year designation will be celebrated at an invitation-only event hosted by NYSE Euronext and the Chief Executive Group at the New York Stock Exchange in July.