Disney Executive Bob Iger Gives Up $47.5 Million Salary as COVID-19 Crisis Worsens

Disney Chairman/CEO Bob Iger: Not exactly the 'disruption' he had in mind.
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Disney Chairman/CEO Bob Iger: Not exactly the 'disruption' he had in mind.
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Disney Chairman/Former CEO Bob Iger has given up 100 percent of his salary to help his company amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former Disney CEO Bob Iger has agreed to forego drawing a salary until the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic passes, while his newly inaugurated successor, Bob Chapek, will voluntarily half his paychecks.

The cuts come as Disney, along with an array of other companies and organizations, are taking increasingly sweeping steps to trim expenses and maintain profitability amid the coronavirus crisis. During the previous fiscal year, Disney recorded record-breaking earnings and paid Iger a whopping $47.5 million. Yesterday, it was reported that the 69-year-old donated $500,000 to the City of Los Angeles; the city will use the funds to support seniors, healthcare workers, and others who are struggling because of COVID-19.

Additionally, Iger and Chapek’s salary reductions are being accompanied by across-the-board corporate pay cuts. Starting on Sunday, April 5th, all vice presidents’ earnings will decrease by a fifth, senior vice presidents’ earnings’ will be scaled back by 25 percent, and executive vice presidents will see their checks drop by 30 percent.

CEO Chapek addressed the cutbacks and the COVID-19 pandemic’s trying effect on his company in an email. The 27-year Disney veteran wrote: “The pandemic is also having a devastating impact on the global and U.S. economies, and it’s hitting businesses like ours particularly hard…we’ve experienced widespread disruption across our company, with our domestic parks and hotels closed indefinitely, our cruise line suspended, our film and TV production halted and theatrical distribution delayed.”

Having surpassed $140 in late February, Disney’s per-share stock price is currently hovering at around $100. As news of the company-wide pay drops circulated, the stock, traded under the symbol DIS, experienced an uptick, from approximately $93 per share to the mentioned value.

Corporate Disney employees are currently working from home, and Disney theme parks, though originally slated to remain closed through March’s end, will remain shuttered indefinitely.

Disney has indicated that it will continue paying cast members through April 18th, and it’s unclear at this time if these individuals will receive any financial assistance from the entertainment giant after that date.


7 Responses

  1. ©

    In other news: There is absolutely no reason that anyone should have a salary that high. Especially at a company that routinely lays off workers because they can hire new ones for cheaper who are right out of college.

    • dex

      Salaries are all relative. If you lead the company and it makes money, then it gets passed along. Pro athletes bring in big money and get their share. It’s called capitalism. If you were offered a huge salary, you would take it. Don’t kid yourself.

      • Adam Smith

        That’s a lazy excuse for greed and it’s not good capitalism. Big salaries alienate employees (what’s in it for me? = worse commitment and less dedication) and piss off rank-and-file customers (let’s steal this, the CEO makes $100 million). But the worst part is it makes it hard to weather crises which happen every 10-15 years (case in point: right now). Iger was raping the company, now he’s trying to pretend like he’s sacrificing … employees know it’s every man for himself (make sure to take the stapler and laptop on your way out).

        • dex

          That’s no excuse. That is reality. Your assumption about employee morale is poor as Disney has one of the most dedicated and loyal staff of any company. I know many people at many different levels and they are passionate. It isn’t about Iger’s salary, big or small. And nobody is stealing or raping (nice attempt at extremism). There is no pretend by Iger. He has the option to take his salary and he isn’t. That is called sacrifice regardless of how you want to position it. Your argument is flat all the way around.

    • Real World

      Haters love to hate big salaries. It’s a part of capitalism and helps motivate others to work hard and achieve their dreams. Focus on your own success, stop hating on others.

  2. ScottyB

    To be clear, Bob Iger is foregoing his ‘salary’ for 2020, not his total compensation. In FY 2019, Bob Iger’s salary was $3M, not $47.5M. Although likely diminished, he will still be eligible for the lion share of his compensation (performance comp). Still a noble move but wanted to clear up the headline.

    • Annie

      His 2018 salary was over $65M, but it doesn’t matter what it is this year. He’s not taking it. That’s called generosity. Haters…pathetic.