Disney names Susan Arnold as its first woman chair in its 98-year history

Mrs Susan Arnold is the woman to be named to the role in the entertainment company’s 98-year-long history.

She has also served in senior roles at some of America’s biggest companies.

The Walt Disney Company (DIS.N) named Susan Arnold as its chairman of the board on Wednesday, making her the first woman to hold the position in the company’s 98-year history.

Arnold, who has been a member of the board for 14 years, will take over for Bob Iger on December 31.

“As I step into this new role as chairman of the board, I look forward to continuing to serve the long-term interests of Disney’s shareholders and working closely with CEO Bob Chapek as he builds upon the company’s century-long legacy of creative excellence and innovation,” Ms Arnold said in a statement.

Iger, who stepped down as Disney’s CEO in 2020 after 15 years in the position, will leave the company at the end of this month.

“Susan is an incredibly esteemed executive whose wealth of experience, unwavering integrity, and expert judgment has been invaluable to the company since she first joined the Board in 2007,” Mr Iger said.

Arnold’s appointment comes at a time when large corporations are moving away from an organisational structure in which the CEO and chairperson roles are held by the same person, as a result of a push by corporate-governance experts, shareholders, and, in some cases, regulators to separate the two roles.

Arnold previously worked as an operating executive for the equity investment firm The Carlyle Group (CG.O). She has also held executive positions at Procter & Gamble (PG.N) and McDonald’s Corporation (MCD.N).

Several other Disney executives, including Studios head Alan Horn, president and chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television Gary Marsh, and company general counsel Alan Braverman, have announced plans to leave by the end of 2021.

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