Succession at Disney

Succession at Disney

The article on leadership by Lang (2016) is about the succession of Bob Iger as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Walt Disney Company, the American multinational mass media and Entertainment Company. The exit of Thomas Staggs as the chief operations officer (COO) makes the company more likely to consider looking for a successor of Bob Iger from outside the company (Lang, 2016). Bob Iger vacates the helm of Disney in June 2018. Looking outside the company for a successor is considered an unusual step because, per the company’s culture, a successor would be expected from within. Thomas Staggs is the man who has been expected in recent times to succeed Iger having risen through the ranks to become the chief financial officer (CFO) and the head of the Parks and Resorts division (Lang, 2016). He announced on Monday 4th April that he will step down as COO.

The company requires a CEO with relevant experience in different areas in media and entertainment industry. As Lang (2016) states, with Stagg’s exit, the speculation is that Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook COO, is a most likely candidate. Sandberg is already a board member at Disney. Her qualities include youthfulness since she is 46 and ability to move Disney to the digital era due to her experience in the digital world. Other candidates exist both internally and externally but the main challenge is to get a person who will help Disney cope with the challenge of streaming services and online entertainment that threatens pay television business. Other possible candidates include Chase Case, the 21st Century Fox vice chairman; Peter Chernin, former News Corp boss; Leslie Moonves, CBS chief; and John Lasseter, head of Pixar at Disney among others (Lang, 2016).

Relation of the Article to Leadership

The article relates to various aspects of leadership. In this article, Disney is expected to look outside its ranks for a successor of the CEO because its major hope of a successor had left the company. This shows lack of nurturing and mentoring for successors. As the behavioral leadership theories indicate, leaders are made not born (Northouse, 2004). The company should have nurtured a number of possible CEO successors to avoid any succession crisis. The company requires a leader with enough experience with the diversity of operations of a giant company like Disney.

Disney as a media and entertainment company has a broad range of activities (Lang, 2016). Therefore, the company requires a leader who is dynamic and flexible with enough skills to ensure the success of every aspect of the company’s business. Sandberg is seen as having those qualities in addition to having the Silicon Valley bona fides that would enable her move Disney to the digital platform (Lang, 2016).

Disney requires a Sound and Team leader, who is able to motivate a team to success according to the Managerial Grid Model (Northouse, 2004). Such a leader is committed to the success of a company and contributes to that success. The leader is able to motivate and be motivated while maintaining a team spirit in the company. For a company with diverse operations, team spirit, trust, commitment, and respect are highly important. In addition, a CEO successor at Disney would need to be creative.

Creativity is needed in the company to deal with the challenge of online entertainment and streaming that threatens businesses like Disney that relies on pay television. Creativity requires a leader to be spontaneous and flexible especially in times when one is forced off course (Northouse, 2004). Furthermore, the company requires an intuitive leader who will always show the direction to others in difficult times. As much as a leader will reach out to their mentors, the final decision lies with them and their intuition is required.

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