Two weeks ago, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced he was stepping down from Apple’s board of directors due to competition between Apple TV+ and Disney+. In a new interview with CNBC today, Iger touched more on his decision to step down from Apple’s board, his relationship with Steve Jobs, and more.
Iger initially detailed what ultimately drove him to become an Apple board member in the first place. He explained that Steve Jobs asked him to join the board before he died, but that because Jobs was on the Disney board at the time, Iger couldn’t be on the Apple board.
“I couldn’t be on the Apple board. You know, it’s not considered appropriate. I think the New York Stock Exchange doesn’t allow it. The interlocking board memberships. But when he died, I was asked to essentially become – replace him on the board – not replace him in total. I loved my eight years on the Apple board. I learned so much. And I think I brought something into the boardroom too, because of my perspective. You know, we’d love to be associated with Apple. They do distribute our content and our apps.”
Regarding his decision to step down from Apple’s board, Iger explained that it was becoming clear that Apple and Disney were on conflicting paths rather than converging paths. While he noted that Apple TV+ is still a small business for Apple, it’s “meaningful” for Disney:
“The reason I got off the board is as they got more and more into creating television shows and movies it became more and more clear to me that our paths were conflicting rather than converging. And I just thought it was the right thing to do. The business is still relatively small for Apple but it’s meaningful for Disney and it wasn’t right.”
As for the current state of Apple, Iger said that he thinks Tim Cook has done a “great job” as CEO of the company, emphasizing that Apple is “one of the great companies in the world.”
“I think Tim has done a great job. And no matter what direction you look, no matter how you point, I think you conclude that that company is one of the great companies in the world. And Steve’s gone for eight years, and yes, he founded it and it’s his company in some ways, but what Steve did was long ago at this point, particularly given the pace of change.”
Iger released a memoir yesterday, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company. An excerpt last week described more details about Iger’s relationship with Jobs, as well as Apple’s relationship with Disney.
You can watch Iger’s interview on CNBC here.
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