Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger Joins Board of Apple

Robert Iger, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Image credit: Disney

Robert A. Iger, the president and chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company, will take on an additional role as a member of the board of Apple Inc.

Arthur D. Levinson becomes Apple’s new chairman, succeeding Apple co-founder Steven P. Jobs, who died in October.

The announcement was made by Apple this afternoon from its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

“I am honored to be named chairman of Apple’s board and welcome Bob to our team,” Levinson said in a statement. “Apple is always focused on out-innovating itself through the delivery of truly innovative products that simplify and improve our lives, and that is something I am very proud to be a part of.”

Iger, 60, has been the chief executive at Disney since 2005 and before that was the company’s president and chief operating officer starting in 2000. He first came to ABC, Inc., in 1974, rising to become president and chief operating officer of ABC from 1994 to 1999.

Jobs and Iger knew each other for many years. Shortly after Iger became Disney’s chief executive, the two agreed in 2006 for Disney to acquire Pixar Animation Studios — a company that, under Jobs’ aegis, had reimagined the business of animated films. Under the agreement, Jobs joined the Disney board and became the company’s largest stockholder.

Jobs co-founded Apple Computer in 1976 and successfully marketed some of the world’s first successful personal computers. Later, as CEO from 1997 until shortly before his death, he introduced a succession of products, including the iPod, the iTunes online store, the iPhone and the iPad. He has been given credit for reinventing personal computing, recorded music, modern animation and wireless communications.

Iger has been given credit for nurturing Disney’s core businesses in animation and theme parks and resorts, while expanding its media networks and moving the company into new media.

“Bob and I have gotten to know one another very well over the past few years and on behalf of the entire board, we think he is going to make an extraordinary addition to our already very strong board,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “His strategic vision for Disney is based on three fundamentals: generating the best creative content possible, fostering innovation and utilizing the latest technology, and expanding into new markets around the world which makes him a great fit for Apple.”

“Apple has achieved unprecedented success by consistently creating high quality, truly innovative products, and I am extremely pleased to join the board of such a wonderful company,” said Iger. “Over the years, I have come to know and admire the management team, now ably led by Tim Cook, and I am confident they have the leadership and vision to ensure Apple’s continued momentum and success.”