Disney extends CEO Iger's contract by a year to July 2019

Walt Disney Co said on Thursday it extended Chief Executive Bob Iger's term by a year to July 2, 2019 and said he would serve as a consultant for three years after that.

This is the third time Iger's contract has been extended. Iger first said he would retire in April 2015, before agreeing to stay on through June 2016 and then later agreed to remain until June 2018.

Investor favorite Iger said last month he was open to extending his term.

Disney's stock was up 0.5 percent at $112.68 in late morning trading, having extended gains with a spike in trading volume after the company's statement.

Iger, who became Disney's CEO in 2005, won over shareholders after the successful acquisitions of Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios and "Star Wars" producer Lucasfilm.

He also oversaw the building of Shanghai Disney Resort in China and expansions at Disney's U.S. theme parks.

However, Disney has recently faced questions about the future of sports network ESPN, which has lost subscribers as younger viewers move away from traditional pay television packages.

Disney Chief Operating Officer Tom Staggs had been seen as the likely successor to Iger, but he unexpectedly left the company in 2016.

The company said at the time that its board was searching for Iger's successor, a statement the company repeated on Thursday.

Disney said in a filing that Iger's annual compensation for the extended employment period remained unchanged. http://bit.ly/2mwc3Jn

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and additional reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)