NEW YORK - The Walt Disney Co. has named Bob Chapek CEO, replacing Bob Iger, effective immediately.
The surprise announcement Tuesday makes Iger executive chairman. Chapek was most recently chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.
Iger will remain chairman through the end of his contract Dec. 31, 2021.
Iger said it was an "optimal time" for him to step down following Disney's acquisition of Fox's entertainment assets and the launch of Disney Plus streaming service in November.
"Did not see this coming - Wowza," tweeted LightShed media analyst Rich Greenfield.
Chapek is only the seventh CEO in Disney history.
Susan Arnold, the independent lead director of the Disney board, said succession planning had been ongoing for several years.
Chapek was head of the parks, experiences and products division since it was created in 2018. Before that, he was chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts since 2015. Before that, he was president of the Disney Consumer Products segment from 2011 to 2015.