Nearly 9 years and hundreds of financial successes after Disney’s current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bob Iger took control, he made it clear in recent years that it was time to pass the magic wand to someone else. This morning, Iger began the process of handing that wand over as he named Tom Staggs Chief Operating Officer (COO) of The Walt Disney Company.
“It’s a privilege to step into this role, and I am humbled and honored by the opportunity, said Staggs. “I look forward to working more closely with Bob and the talented senior management team across the company to continue to build Disney’s future through unparalleled creativity, innovative technology and global expansion.”
Although Staggs’ new role isn’t the top one, it is a very important and very visible role in any company. In it, Staggs will now be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Company effective immediately. In other words, Staggs will now work in tandem with Iger for what might be the obvious – train him to be the next CEO when Iger steps down in 2018. Still, Disney didn’t officially announce that intention in the release this morning.
Iger and the Board of Directors’ decision comes with lots of research and strategy. Staggs, 54, has a very successful tenure at Disney and quickly jumped the ranks to high-profile roles. In 1998, he became Chief Financial Officer and in 2010, he entered his current role as Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts which he’ll continue to have until a successor is named.
“Tom is an incredibly experienced, talented and versatile executive who has led Parks and Resorts during a time of unprecedented growth and expansion, including the construction of Shanghai Disney Resort. His proven ability to lead a business as well as his successful tenure as Disney’s former CFO make him an ideal Chief Operating Officer, expanding his portfolio into all the company’s businesses,” Mr. Iger said in the announcement.
In addition to his professional credentials, Staggs has also proven himself worthy in his demeanor and personal life.
In a commencement speech he gave to his alma mater, he gave some life lessons that also reflect what he does and what we hope he’ll continue to do no matter what role he’s in. Among those lessons he said “Your work is part of who you are, but only part. Your life in total is what matters, so make that life one you’re proud of – one in which the people you love know that they are your priority.”
I had the opportunity to meet Tom a few times in the past and we do connect on occasion still. I can tell you that he is a person who loves his family just as much as he loves doing the best at what he does. By having a work-life balance, he gets the brand because the brand is about family. Any CEO especially of The Walt Disney Company must know that and live that out and Tom does just that. “I never set my goal to become Chairman. I just want to do my very best wherever I am,” he told me.
It is in that spirit that I congratulate Mr. Staggs today on being the very best (enough for a promotion) and still being a dad to his family. I’m eager to see how he’ll do with 175,000 more family members.
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Do you follow Disney’s business dealings? If so, what do you think of Tom’s leadership? Do you think he’s the right man for the role and for a CEO role in the future? If you aren’t familiar with Tom, what do you think is needed to lead The Walt Disney Company? Comment below!