Long-time Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger will add chairman to his title after its annual meeting of shareholders in March, agreeing to step down from the entertainment giant in 2015, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday.
Iger, who became Disney CEO in 2005 after then-chief executive Michael Eisner was ousted, was credited with smoothing over Disney's then contentious relationship with Pixar - it agreed to purchase the animation giant in 2006 - and has led the entertainment icon through some of the greatest growth years in its history.
According to the documents filed Friday, current Disney chairman John Pepper will step down after the company's March 2012 annual meeting, after which Iger will add the title of chairman. Iger also extended his employment contract with Disney to 2015, increasing his total potential compensation to $30 million annually.
Iger's base salary will rise from $2 million to $2.5 million and his incentive bonus target moves from $10 million to $12 million and his equity-based long-term incentive target rises to $15.5 million, according to the new agreement. In 2016, when Iger will become executive chairman of the company, his incentive bonus and long-term incentive targets will fall to $6 million each.
No successor to Iger has been named, but in the documents the company said it extending Iger's agreement and naming him chairman would put in place an effective plan for the future transition of leadership that would best serve the company and its shareholders.
"...securing Mr. Iger's leadership and skills for a period of almost five years, through mid-2016, was of critical importance and value to the company," Disney said in the filing. "The board also believed that there was tremendous value in planning for the appointment of a new CEO towards the latter part of that period while continuing to get the benefit of Mr. Iger's skill and experience as an executive of the Company to aid in the transition for the duration of his contract."