Walt Disney shocked investors twice in the past two weeks. On Nov. 8, the company announced a substantial loss in its underperforming streaming service. And on Nov. 20, the company announced CEO Bob Chapek had been replaced by former CEO, Bob Iger, who would be returning to the role less than three years after Chapek had taken over.
During the entertainment company’s 4th quarter earnings call two weeks ago, CFO Christine McCarthy spoke to the struggling media and entertainment distribution arm. In Q4, operating income decreased by $864 million, and the streaming business lost $1.5 billion. Since the launch of Disney+, the streaming business has lost more than $8 billion, according to WSJ.com. McCarthy described this as “peak losses,” but Disney was prepared to move forward.
Two weeks later, Chapek was out. McCarthy had expressed a lack of confidence in Chapek to the Disney board of directors, according to WSJ.com. The finance chief told board members “she wasn’t happy with the way Mr. Chapek had communicated with investors during the conference call,” per WSJ.com, and was concerned about Chapek’s decision on the future strategy for streaming in order to bring it to profitability.
McCarthy has held the CFO title since 2015, which made her the highest-ranking woman in the history of Disney.