Future Disney CEO Thomas Staggs Resigns From Company

According to the New York Times, The Walt Disney Company’s Chief Operating Officer, Thomas Staggs, will be leaving the company later this year

The news to step down comes as a surprise to those around the company as Staggs was long considered the favorite to step in for current Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Iger when his current contract expires in 2018.

But according to reports, Staggs fell out of favor with Disney’s board of directors due to his inability to cement himself as a leader that can maintain and continue the creative direction of their company and worldwide brand.

That fact alone seems to have been the catalyst to Monday’s announcement.

With the news of his departure later this year and the coming absence of their CEO, Disney’s future leadership is certainly up in the air and their board must now work to find individuals who can steer their iconic company in a manner that will reflect all that Disney stands for in terms of the company as a whole.

Disney’s board of directors have since released a statement acknowledging its plan to “broaden the scope of its succession planning process to identify and evaluate a robust slate of candidates for consideration.”

According to the company, Staggs will officially step down from his position on May 6 and remain employed with Disney through the end of the fiscal year.

“Tom has been a great friend and trusted colleague for more than 20 years,” Iger said in a statement. “He’s made important contributions to this company, earning wide respect across the organization for his achievements and personal integrity. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together, immensely grateful for the privilege of working with him, and confident that he will be enormously successful in whatever opportunity he chooses.”

Staggs praised Disney and Iger in a statement, saying, “Disney truly stands alone, not only because of the company’s phenomenal creativity, but also because of the thousands of remarkable people who make it such an extraordinary place.”

Along with putting Disney’s future in disarray, Staggs’ departure may also be seen as a concern as the company prepares to unveil Shanghai Disney, which Mr. Staggs helped guide.

Shanghai Disneyland Park is located in Pudong Shanghai and is expected to open on June 16. The project is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the Shanghai Shendi Group.

Stagg shared oversight over Disney’s business segment leaders with current CEO Bob Iger. He was promoted to the position of COO back in February 2015 and after served as the lead for the Parks and Resorts’ global team since 2010.

Mr. Staggs joined the Disney family back in 1990 as Manager of Strategic Planning, quickly climbing the ranks within Disney and becoming the Chief Financial Officer in 1998. Prior to his time with Disney Mr. Staggs worked at Morgan Stanley & Co. as an investment banker.

Whatever the case, the individual that follows Mr. Iger as CEO will be presented with one of the toughest tasks in the industry.

Under Disney’s current leadership, the company was able to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm, and Pixar Animation Studios. Their profit from the previous year was driven up to 12 percent, netting a $8.4 billion profit for the year.

[Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision/AP Images]