The usually well-oiled process of secession at Disney has been wrenched by the sudden news Monday that Thomas Staggs, the heir apparent to Chairman and CEO Robert Iger, is leaving the company. Staggs, who was elevated to second-in-command last year, will step down as chief operating officer next month, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“Disney’s board of directors was not yet prepared to make a final decision regarding the CEO selection, and Staggs ‘read the tea leaves,’ said one person close to the company who was not authorized to comment publicly,” the Times reports, noting that Iger, 65, is expected to leave Disney when his contract runs out in June 2018.
Staggs’ departure follows the exit last year of former Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo, who was passed over for the No. 2 position, the Times reports.
“With the notable exception of former Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Eisner, Disney usually selects its chief executive from within,” the story reports. “But the departures of Staggs and Rasulo make it more likely that Disney would have to turn to an outside executive to find a person capable of handling such a complicated job, analysts said.”