Bob Iger Speaking About Leadership at Global Leadership Summit 2022


As a part of my vocation, I got to participate in the Global Leadership Summit 2022 held in South Barrington, IL on August 4&5, 2022. During this event, many experts in leadership within the faith-based and corporate business world spoke. For theme park fans, one speaker at this event will sound familiar. Bob Iger spoke at this event. Well, technically he experienced an interview by Paula Faris. The Global Leadership Summit website described Bob Iger with this bio:

Over his 15 years of leading The Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger built Disney into one of the largest and most admired media entertainment companies in the world. As CEO, Iger expanded on Disney’s rich history of unforgettable storytelling with acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox. Always one to embrace new technology, Iger has made Disney an industry leader through its creative content offerings across multiple platforms. During Iger’s tenure, The Walt Disney Company has been recognized as one of the “Most Reputable Companies” and one of the “Best Employers” by Forbes; one of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” by Fortune; and one of the “World’s Most Respected Companies” by Barron’s.

Iger’s legacy-leading career has been widely recognized—personally he has been named one of the “World’s Most Powerful People” and one of the “Top Gun CEOs” by Forbes; and one of the “25 Most Powerful People in Business” by Fortune, among several other recognitions. In his 2019 New York Times best-selling book, The Ride of a Lifetime, Iger shares lessons he’s learned as CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

No matter what you think of some of the specifics of this bio, Bob Iger served and continues to be a good example of a leadership model. According to a report first covered by Variety, Iger will be writing a book to be published via Random House. We now know more about this book. His second book functions as a “playbook on leading in times of crisis and disruption.” He will supposedly take readers behind the scenes for crucial decisions at the highest levels of business, entertainment, and politics. Iger will examine, in this book, how the Disney company and other corporations dealt with the crises caused by the COVID pandemic. Iger has written about why some leaders succeeded or failed during the crisis. He shares tips on managing during a crisis within the book.

However, based on reports that Bob Iger recently stated some misgivings about the placement of Bob Chapek as CEO of Disney corporation after he resigned, his words on leadership were expected to be interesting. Some saw those alleged words as “sour grapes” for how Iger’s career ended at Disney. Not knowing all the behind-the-scenes events, I cannot say if that functions as valid criticism.

If looking for video on this interview or conference online– bear this in mind

Based on conflicting reports about the transition of leadership from Iger to Chapek, I attended this event with a touch of curiosity on how or if Iger would discuss that. For the record to his credit, he does not mention the transition period with Disney at all. Still, we found out he is now working on a third book discussing in more detail leadership positives and negative during the Covid era. So, if you are more interested in that, then the third book might be for you.

Though he was only a small portion of the other very talented leaders in faith and business, theme park fans would be most interested in his words on Friday of the Global Leadership Summit. With an upcoming book and several other business ventures in the works, what pearls of wisdom would Iger unveil at the Global Leadership Summit? In case you were wondering, the new book embraces the title “The Ride of a Lifetime.” The sub heading under the title reads “Lessons learned in 15 years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company.”

Iger expressed a few solid pearls of wisdom about leadership. For example, he voiced the importance of “being decent to people” not just in life but in leadership also. He expressed gratitude to his parents that instilled that desire in him. Iger said that instead of nice guys finishing last—decent people finish first.

He went into detail about his effort to broker deals with Steve Jobs to repair Pixar/Disney relationship. Iger spoke about how all business deals start for him with one-on-one interactions. He described how this worked in the business acquisition of Marvel, Star Wars, and Fox. The details about the pressure of leadership and decent relationships in partnership with Steve Jobs offered the most insight into leadership. I learned that perhaps Bob Iger provided some inspiration for the creation of a video screen on the IPod device. Iger said all major business efforts build on genuine one-on-one relationships.

Of course, not all business deals for Iger were completed as he served as CEO of Disney. Did you know Disney was going to buy Twitter? I did not. As someone who spends way too much time on twitter, I found this part of the discussion to be fascinating. Iger recounted while speaking with Faris that he got “cold feet” about the deal. He felt that Disney could not handle getting that platform. At the time Disney desired a platform to compete with Netflix. What could have happened if Disney bought Twitter? We will never know unless it appears in a Marvel multiverse themed project.

Iger was asked about his thoughts about bridge building as a tool in leadership. Faris pointed out that Iger was Jewish and married a Christian woman in relation to idea of bridge building. Iger spoke about their decision to raise the children as Catholic. He almost glowed when he spoke about how his Jewish parents were at the baptism being supportive not divisive. Iger voiced genuine concern about people becoming more divisive in our culture. He stated that such attitudes limit productivity as a leader.

Toward the end of the interview, Iger voiced the need for leaders to be positive and not pessimistic. He did not advocate ignoring the difficulties in life though. He said leaders need to be positive but realistic also. Iger started to sound like a moderate theologian when he spoke about also giving hope as a leader. He referenced the current Ukrainian leader as they fight their war with Russia saying, “We will get through this!” Leaders can say things will be tough but also offer hope. He seemed to compare in contrast that type leadership to other leaders that told people not to worry about the virus in 2020. Leaders need to be truth tellers. Still, hope should shine as a leader.

With this book and another book coming out, we should expect to hear more from Iger about leadership and Disney company. May we all live with hope even on those bad days we wish we were at a theme park instead.

Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.