Disney's Iger to Step Down as CEO in 2015

Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) announced on Friday that CEO Robert Iger will stay on through March 2015, but then plans to step down as the leader of one of the world’s largest media companies.

Burbank, Calif.-based Disney disclosed a number of moves aimed at facilitating an orderly succession of Iger, 60, who replaced Michael Eisner as CEO in 2005.

Disney, which owns a slew of theme parks and media properties such as ABC and ESPN, said Iger will become chairman in March 2012 when John Pepper, Jr., retires.

“As one of the most iconic brands and preeminent companies in the world, The Walt Disney Company requires a leader with the proven ability to drive creative and financial success in a dynamic world,” Pepper said in a statement. “For more than six years, Bob Iger has proven he has that ability at the highest level.”

Iger, whose contract was set to expire at the end of January 2013, will serve as both chairman and CEO through March 31, 2015. After that, Iger will become the company’s executive chairman through June 30, 2016.

Disney said under the new agreement, which is effective October 1, Iger’s base annual salary is $2.5 million plus an annual bonus that will be based on the company’s performance. The new deal doesn’t include any upfront equity awards.

“I’m committed to increasing long-term value for shareholders and am confident we will continue to do so through the successful execution of our core strategic priorities: the creation of high quality, branded content and experiences, the use of technology, and creating growth in numerous and exciting international markets,” Iger said.

It’s not yet clear who will guide Disney after Iger steps down as CEO.

Shares of Disney slightly extended their losses on the news and were recently down 1.03% to $31.70. The company’s stock has decreased nearly 15% so far this year.