Crisis Cartoon 10 Feb

The Boss is Back

February 27th, 2023

One indicator that a company is heading into crisis mode is the boss coming back into the fray riding on a white horse and waving a sword.

Everyone in the entertainment world thought that CEO Bob Iger was heading into the sunset in 2022 after a spectacular 15-year reign at Disney.

Bob hugely expanded the company increasing its market capitalization fivefold helped by a string of high-profile acquisitions: Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and the entertainment assets of Fox including 21st Century Fox. He also expanded the theme parks internationally.

None of this came cheap. As Bob settled down to write his autobiography, The Ride of a Lifetime the share price began to tank under his appointed successor, Bob Chapek and by the end of last year had halved from an all-time high.

Then the vultures began to circle led by activist investor the billionaire Nelson Peltz, 80. He claimed that Disney overpaid for 21st Century. He also says that the streaming business – where Disney is the biggest competitor to Netflix – is going to be a sunset industry. He has also criticised the company’s succession planning.

As if to prove the Nelson’s last point, Bob Iger is back in the saddle and Bob Chapek is gardening. And with a huge costs-cutting programme, Nelson has gone away…for the time bing (stet),

Speaking of Bing, another returnee is Sergey Brin, one of the co-founders of Google who is limbering up on the touchline. It seems he has been getting access to some of the company’s AI research work. He stepped down as a President of the company in 2019. It can’t be totally for the money as he is world’s 9th richest man but his wealth is intrinsically linked to Alphabet’s (Google’s parent) health.

As a search engine Bing was almost a laughing stock (I found it worked fine) and had almost no market share. But now that it’s linked with ChatGPT, there’s a queue. This is called the Hard Rock Café strategy – always keep a line outside the restaurant.

However, it does seem to indicate that there may be a crisis and a panic at Alphabet. This month, they rushed out a ChatGPT rival, Bard, in Paris. During the presentation, the VP of Search, Liz Redi couldn’t find her phone. Ooops.

And Bard got basic information about the Wells telescope wrong. Ouch.

Will the returning bosses be able to avert a crisis?

I’m looking forward to Bob Iger’s next book which might be titled ‘The Ride of a Lifetime – the sequel’.

Have a good week.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *