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Disney CEO Bob Iger Says He’s Definitely Leaving in 2019: ‘I’m Serious This Time’

Variety logo Variety 3/23/2017 Gene Maddaus
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Disney CEO Bob Iger insisted that he is stepping down in 2019 in remarks at a USC tech conference on Thursday.

“Succession is a complicated thing, and I felt and the board felt, we could use more time to create a better transition,” Iger said, in his first public remarks since the announcement Thursday morning that he would extend his contract by one year. “I feel great about it. I’m serious this time around.”

Iger extended his contract as the company’s chairman and chief executive by one year, through July 2, 2019.Iger was interviewed by his wife, Willow Bay, who was recently named the next dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The USC Marshall School of Business organized the inaugural SCALE conference, held at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, which also featured presentations on augmented and virtual reality, and the future of gaming.

In keeping with the theme, Iger noted that he had just tried out a Disney augmented reality experience “in a lab in Glendale with a gadget on my head that at some point will feel a lot lighter and more comfortable.” Iger said the project involved “having a lightsaber duel with a stormtrooper.”

Iger also talked about the technology that went into the new Disney theme park in Shanghai. He said he told his team not to create virtual reality experiences, saying they felt “ersatz” in the theme park context.
“I don’t see much of that in our future,” he said, though he thought augmented reality would be more significant. “Augmented yes, but VR, no.”

Iger also discussed the details of the upcoming “Han Solo” spinoff and teased the “stories that will go well beyond ‘Episode IX.'”

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