CASTLE ILLUS TRATION: CHRIS RUSNAK
At Disney, second-in-command
Bob Iger becomes top mouse
BAy Tim Talevich
T THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY, it’s a
small world after all. Exit stage left longtime
CEO Michael Eisner and enter stage right
Bob Iger, who has been at Disney since 1996,
including five years as president and chief
operating officer. As new CEO, Iger oversees the world’s sec-
ond-largest media company and an American icon since 1923.
Disney’s vast empire consists of its movie studio, parks and
resorts, merchandising arm and media network, including
ABC, ESPN and Hyperion Books. The Connection recently
caught up with Iger via phone, shortly after the opening of
Hong Kong Disneyland in mid-September and days before he
officially became CEO. Here, he discusses past successes, plans
for domestic and international growth, the role new technol-
ogy will play at Disney and more.
26 The Costco Connection NOVEMBER 2005
The Costco Connection: First, how did the
opening in China go?
Bob Iger: The opening in Hong Kong was fantastic on a lot of levels. First of all, it was extremely
smooth in terms of the operational side. But most
importantly, it was a real cultural moment. The theme
park is such a multidimensional product that, when
it is brought into a different culture, it’s that much
more meaningful than, say, a movie or a book or a
toy or a television show.
And watching Chinese children watching a
Disney parade for the first time or going on one of
our attractions or seeing our fireworks was quite
CC: The opening brings up a timely question.
Internationally, we live in troubled times. Given this
backdrop, how will Disney products and projects
BI: One of the great things about Disney is just
how universal we are. We tell stories and create characters and experiences that are loved the world over
by people of all races and ages and religions. So we’ve
never really had a problem traveling across borders,
and that was certainly evident this past week.
And another great thing is that, in our product,