Walt Disney's Bob Iger steps down as CEO

Bob Iger has stepped down as Disney CEO, effective immediately.

Disney made the stunning announcement Tuesday and named head of Disney parks - Bob Chapek - as the new chief executive, ending years of speculation on who would eventually take over Hollywood’s most powerful studio.

Chapek becomes the seventh CEO in the company’s nearly 100-year history.

Iger, who has been CEO since 2005, will serve as executive chairman and will direct Disney’s creative endeavors.

The change in leadership comes after Iger led the company through the development and launch of Disney+.

Demand for the streaming service exceeded company expectations when it debuted in November 2019, the same year Iger was named Time’s Businessperson of the Year.

He had built up the Disney brand through a series of acquisitions, including Pixar Animation, Marvel Studios, and "Star Wars" franchise owner Lucasfilm.

Iger’s biggest bet? Last year’s $71 billion purchase of the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox, a deal that was instrumental in launching Disney+.

During a conference call on Tuesday, Iger said: "I felt that with the asset bases in place and with our strategy deployed I should be spending as much time as possible on the creative side of our business."

Iger plans to be with the company in his new role until the end of 2021.