Walt Disney Co. Chief Operating Officer Thomas Staggs will depart the Burbank company this year, throwing into question the company’s succession plans.

Staggs had been seen as the favorite to replace Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Iger when his contract expires in 2018. His departure means that Disney will have to redouble efforts to find a new leader.

Staggs, 55, was named chief operating officer early last year. The No. 2 job — which was once held by Iger — was seen as a way to groom Staggs for the top post.

In a statement, Disney said that its board of directors would “broaden the scope of its succession planning process to identify and evaluate a robust slate of candidates for consideration.”

Staggs will step down from his position May 6 and remain employed at Disney through the end of the fiscal year, the company said in a statement.

He has spent 26 years at the company, serving as chief financial officer and head of the parks and resorts department.

“Tom has been a great friend and trusted colleague for more than 20 years,” Iger, 65, said in a statement. “He’s made important contributions to this company, earning wide respect across the organization for his achievements and personal integrity. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together, immensely grateful for the privilege of working with him, and confident that he will be enormously successful in whatever opportunity he chooses.”

Staggs praised Disney and Iger in a statement, saying, “Disney truly stands alone, not only because of the company’s phenomenal creativity, but also because of the thousands of remarkable people who make it such an extraordinary place.”

Staggs’ impending exit was first reported by the New York Times.

 

Source – L.A. Times

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