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How Bob Iger celebrated his last day at Disney after nearly 50 years

By Clare Duffy, CNN Business

Bob Iger, Disney’s former chief executive and long-time executive chairman, is officially ending his tenure Friday after just shy of half century at the company. Iger announced he would leave the company when his contract ended at the close of this year.

“This is the end of my 47 1/2 yr ABC @Disney journey and it was ‘the ride of a lifetime,'” Iger said on Twitter. “Enormous thanks to my colleagues & fellow cast members & special thanks to my wife Willow & my 4 children.”

Iger spent the last few days of his time working for the company at Disney World park in Florida, according to his Twitter. “Just spent 3 days @WaltDisneyWorld & was reminded (yet again) what makes me so proud of @disney…our cast members! Thanks for taking care of me all these years,” he said on Twitter Thursday.

Iger took over as Disney CEO from Michael Eisner in 2005 and became one of America’s most respected corporate leaders and most powerful media executives in the ensuing 15 years.

During his tenure as CEO, Iger oversaw the acquisition of Marvel Studios, Pixar, and Lucasfilm, all of which produced films that shattered box office records. Under his leadership, 21st Century Fox came into Disney’s fold, resulting in a new roster of intellectual property for the nearly 100-year-old company. In 2019, he unveiled Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and at Walt Disney World to incredible fanfare. But among his final acts as CEO — and arguably one of the most important of his tenure — was the launch of Disney+, a streaming service with exclusive programs to compete with Netflix.

In late February 2020, Iger made the surprise announcement that he would immediately step down as CEO to become executive chairman, handing the reins to Disney’s former head of parks, experiences and products, Bob Chapek.

The announcement came just before Covid-19 turned into a full-blown pandemic, after which Iger likely served as a creative force for Disney+ and helped Chapek to navigate one of the company’s most difficult periods. The pandemic was a massive blow to Disney’s parks business, and made it harder to produce the movies that drive the entertainment side of the company.

It’s not clear what Iger’s next move will be, although he was among the names being considered by the Biden administration for ambassadorships last year.

–CNN’s Frank Pallotta contributed to this report.

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