Disney has a new board chair, and she’s a gay woman

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Disney’s in a big moment of transition. Chairman of the board Bob Iger leaves at the end of 2021. He’ll be succeeded by Susan Arnold. Photo by Marko Aliaksandr

When Bob Iger officially leaves Disney at the end of the year, he’ll be succeeded by Susan Arnold, the first woman and first openly gay person to lead the Disney board of directors. She’s a 14-year board member, and her taking over for Iger is seen as a move of stability.

While Iger came from a creative background, that’s not the case with Arnold. She worked almost 30 years at Procter & Gamble and also spent time in the world of private equity. That fits with the direction Disney is headed in generally. Bob Chapek, the current CEO of the company, came from consumer products and theme parks, rather than creative programming. 

During his years at Disney, Iger saw the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Fox. His departure marks the end of an era. Where he heads next is still an open question. There was talk of him serving as ambassador to China, but that never came to be. Now there’s the possibility that he could own a sports team or take on another big public role.



Kaitlin Parker