Disney CEO Bob Iger steps down after 15 years at helm

Disney CEO Bob Iger, who steered the absorption of Star Wars, Marvel and Fox's entertainment businesses and the launch of a Netflix challenger, is stepping down immediately, the company said in a surprise announcement Tuesday.

The Walt Disney Co. named as his replacement Bob Chapek, most recently chairman of Disney's parks, experiences and products business.

"Did not see this coming — Wowza," tweeted LightShed media analyst Rich Greenfield.

Iger, who turned 69 this month, will remain executive chairman through the end of his contract on December 31, 2021, the company said.

Besides leading the company's board, Iger said he will spend more time on Disney's creative endeavors, including the ESPN sports network, the newly acquired Fox studios and the Hulu and Disney Plus streaming services.

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