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Ex-Disney CEO Bob Iger will join Jared Kushner's brother's venture-capital firm

Former Disney CEO Bob Iger is set to join billionaire Joshua Kushner’s venture-capital firm as his old company continues to slump following a series of woke gaffes.

The businessman, who stepped down as Disney chief executive in February 2020, is being brought on to mentor the start-up’s founders and offer daily advice.

He will also explore new investment opportunities to boost the New York-based firm that was set up just 13 years ago.

It comes as Disney continues to ail under its current CEO Bob Chapek, with its shares consistently down over the last year.

It marks a dramatic fall for the company that quadrupled its income and saw its share price rise more than fivefold under Iger.

Iger will now move on to New York-based Thrive Capital, which made the announcement in a blog post on Tuesday that he will mentor its founders.

The firm was co-founded by Joshua Kushner, the brother of former Trump White House adviser Jared Kushner. He is also married to model Karlie Kloss. 

Former Disney CEO Bob Iger will be joining investment firm Thrive Capital to mentor start-up founders as his old firm flounders following multiple woke gaffes

Former Disney CEO Bob Iger will be joining investment firm Thrive Capital to mentor start-up founders as his old firm flounders following multiple woke gaffes

New York-based Thrive Capital was co-founded by Joshua Kushner, the brother of former Trump White House adviser Jared Kushner. He is also married to model Karlie Kloss (pictured)

New York-based Thrive Capital was co-founded by Joshua Kushner, the brother of former Trump White House adviser Jared Kushner. He is also married to model Karlie Kloss (pictured)

New York-based Thrive Capital was co-founded by Joshua Kushner, the brother of former Trump White House adviser Jared Kushner. He is also married to model Karlie Kloss (pictured)

Joshua Kushner (right) is pictured with brother Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump at the New York Observer 25th Anniversary in NYC in 2013

Joshua Kushner (right) is pictured with brother Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump at the New York Observer 25th Anniversary in NYC in 2013

Joshua Kushner (right) is pictured with brother Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump at the New York Observer 25th Anniversary in NYC in 2013

‘I have long believed that by harnessing and advancing technology we can transform businesses and ultimately change our world for the better, and this is exactly what Thrive intends to do and I’m excited to join them in this important endeavor,’ Iger said in a statement about joining Thrive. 

Iger, 71, stepped down as CEO of Disney in February 2020 after 15 years at the helm but stayed on as chairman until the end of 2021.

Earlier this summer, Iger admitted that he regretted the decision to name Chapek, who has had his contract renewed despite leading the company through and into some scandals and political controversies. 

Disney’s share price continued to drop since Iger stepped down, increased in 2021 when parks were fully reopened following the pandemic, and have dropped again since Chapek fully took over. 

Disney's share price has continued to drop since Bob Iger stepped down as CEO and dipped again earlier this summer as Bob Chapek fully took over

Disney's share price has continued to drop since Bob Iger stepped down as CEO and dipped again earlier this summer as Bob Chapek fully took over

Disney’s share price has continued to drop since Bob Iger stepped down as CEO and dipped again earlier this summer as Bob Chapek fully took over

Since stepping down, Iger has been involved in variety of ventures, especially startups in the media and technology industries.

Thrive, which managed about $9 billion in assets last year, raised $3 billion for two new funds earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

It has also backed many of Silicon Valley’s successful startups, including Instagram, Spotify Technology SA, Robinhood Markets Inc., and payments provider Stripe Inc. 

Kushner is estimated to be worth $2 billion, according to Forbes. Iger was worth $690 million in 2019, according to their estimates.

The firm was co-founded by Joshua Kushner (left), the brother of former Trump White House adviser Jared Kushner (right). Their father Charles Kushner is pictured in the center

The firm was co-founded by Joshua Kushner (left), the brother of former Trump White House adviser Jared Kushner (right). Their father Charles Kushner is pictured in the center

The firm was co-founded by Joshua Kushner (left), the brother of former Trump White House adviser Jared Kushner (right). Their father Charles Kushner is pictured in the center

Kushner is estimated to be worth $2 billion, according to Forbes

Kushner is estimated to be worth $2 billion, according to Forbes

Kushner is estimated to be worth $2 billion, according to Forbes

Since Iger stepped down from Disney and Chapek was fully given charge in 2022, park prices have skyrocketed. At California parks, ticket prices jumped 6 percent to $164 for single-park passes, while the price of getting into more than one park over the course of a day rose 9 percent to $319. 

Iger went as far as to call Chapek a ‘novice’ and told Disney sources Chapek, 61, replacing him was one of his worst business decisions, Business Insider reported.

Chapek was to report to both the board and Iger, the long-serving CEO who spent his final year still chairing the company’s board, but, according to a source, ended up not liking how the process went.

Iger and Chapek apparently clashed over the company’s response to COVID and each other’s political decisions, with the two having completely different advisory teams to go against each other.

The former CEO publicly and privately would state he disliked how Chapek handled everything from the battle with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, which led to the company losing major tax breaks to self-governance to Scarlett Johansson’s contract dispute over Black Widow.

Former Disney CEO Bob Iger has made it clear he believes hiring Chapek as his successor was a mistake

Former Disney CEO Bob Iger has made it clear he believes hiring Chapek as his successor was a mistake

Iger went as far as to call Chapek (pictured) a 'novice' and told Disney sources that it was one of his worst business decisions to have Chapek, 61, replace him

Iger went as far as to call Chapek (pictured) a 'novice' and told Disney sources that it was one of his worst business decisions to have Chapek, 61, replace him

Former Disney CEO Bob Iger (pictured left) fought the decision to name his controversial successor Bob Chapek (pictured right), who has since gone on to lead the company through some scandals and political controversies.

Last week, Chapek spoke for the first time about his response to Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill since apologizing to staff for not speaking out against the controversial legislation last spring. 

Chapek said he initially chose to remain quiet about the bill because he wanted to balance the desires of Disney’s employees and its customers, and hoped to keep the media giant out of the political controversy the bill sparked.

‘What we try to do is be everything to everybody,’ Chapek told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview, ‘That tends to be very difficult because we’re The Walt Disney Company.’

‘We certainly don’t want to get caught up in any political subterfuge, but at the same time we also realize that we want to represent a brighter tomorrow for families of all types, regardless of how they define themselves,’ he said. 

Chapek landed in hot water last spring when he took no public stance on the Don’t Say Gay bill, which barred schools from discussing sexuality or gender with children between kindergarten and third grade. 

Bob Chapek, 61, CEO of Disney, is seen on June 2 during the opening ceremony for Avengers Campus inside Disney California Adventure. Last week, he spoke for the first time about his response to Florida's Don't Say Gay bill

Bob Chapek, 61, CEO of Disney, is seen on June 2 during the opening ceremony for Avengers Campus inside Disney California Adventure. Last week, he spoke for the first time about his response to Florida's Don't Say Gay bill

Bob Chapek, 61, CEO of Disney, is seen on June 2 during the opening ceremony for Avengers Campus inside Disney California Adventure. Last week, he spoke for the first time about his response to Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill

According to an internal memo circulated at the time, Chapek felt the company could better advocate for inclusivity through its content and by working with legislators behind the scenes.

The memo’s revelations were met with outrage by Disney staff, who called Chapek’s decision weak and disappointing. Chapek later apologized in March, publicly decried the bill, announced Disney had paused all its political donations within Florida.

‘Disney was dealt a tough hand by the pandemic, yet with Bob at the helm, our businesses — from parks to streaming — not only weathered the storm but emerged in a position of strength,’ said Susan Arnold, chairman of the board. 

‘In this important time of growth and transformation, the Board is committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it is on today, and Bob’s leadership is key to achieving that goal.’ 

Chapek landed in hot water last spring when he took no public stance on Ron DeSantis' Don't Say Gay bill, which barred schools from discussing sexuality or gender with children between kindergarten and third grade

Chapek landed in hot water last spring when he took no public stance on Ron DeSantis' Don't Say Gay bill, which barred schools from discussing sexuality or gender with children between kindergarten and third grade

Chapek landed in hot water last spring when he took no public stance on Ron DeSantis’ Don’t Say Gay bill, which barred schools from discussing sexuality or gender with children between kindergarten and third grade

The board said in a statement: ‘Bob is the right leader at the right time for The Walt Disney Company, and the Board has full confidence in him and his leadership team.’ 

Chapek was initially unwilling to speak out publicly against the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill – something which his predecessor Iger rebuked him for. 

The bill, which Joe Biden called ‘hateful’ but which supporters say protects children, was signed into law by DeSantis in April.

Disney employees staged a series of walkouts earlier in the month in protest at Chapek’s failure to be more vocal on the issue – Disney employs 77,000 people in Florida. 

On June 16, Disney announced it was delaying the opening of its Florida tech campus, which would have relocated 2,000 workers from California.

Disney is plotting a metaverse that would let people experience the most magical place on earth without ever setting foot in the theme park

Disney is plotting a metaverse that would let people experience the most magical place on earth without ever setting foot in the theme park

Disney is plotting a metaverse that would let people experience the most magical place on earth without ever setting foot in the theme park

Chapek noted the virtual reality experience could go beyond simply sitting in the car and experiencing the ride the way park-goers do, but would allow people to step off of the tracks and explore the ride sets up close

Chapek noted the virtual reality experience could go beyond simply sitting in the car and experiencing the ride the way park-goers do, but would allow people to step off of the tracks and explore the ride sets up close

Chapek noted the virtual reality experience could go beyond simply sitting in the car and experiencing the ride the way park-goers do, but would allow people to step off of the tracks and explore the ride sets up close

Disney officials insisted the delay had nothing to do with tensions with the clash with DeSantis and said they simply needed more time to build the campus.

It will house digital technology, finance, and product development employees – in the Orlando area and the company wanted to give workers additional time to adjust to the transition.

The new opening date for the Florida campus will be in 2026. The company’s giant theme park resort, Walt Disney World, is located about 20 miles away.

‘While a growing number of our employees, who will ultimately work at the campus, have already made the move to central Florida, we also want to continue to provide flexibility to those relocating, especially given the anticipated completion date of the campus is now in 2026,’ Disney said in a statement.

Disney bets the Mouse House on virtual reality: Beleaguered CEO Bob Chapek reveals plans for a ‘lifestyle experience’ metaverse that will recreate their theme parks online – and hints Hulu will merge with streaming service 

Disney is plotting a metaverse that would let people experience the most magical place on earth without ever setting foot in the theme park.

CEO Bob Chapek said the media giant’s metaverse would exist on its streaming platform, Disney+, and allow ‘the 90 percent of people that will never ever be able to get to a Disney park,’ to experience it in virtual reality.

‘We call it next-gen storytelling’ Chapek said in an interview with Deadline, noting that he didn’t like use the phrase metaverse ‘because it has a lot of hair on it.’

But regardless of whatever Chapek prefers to call the planned platform, many have responded by calling the move out of touch with Disney’s fanbase, and argued that if the parks stopped hiking prices more people would be able to visit.

The move comes as Chapek – who took the helm at Disney in 2020 – struggles to make a name for himself in the shadow of his innovative predecessor, Bob Iger, and keep afloat amid controversies ranging from the park’s rising prices, to Disney’s stance on Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill.

Disney's metaverse would allow people to experience park rides like the Haunted Mansion without ever setting foot in Disney World

Disney's metaverse would allow people to experience park rides like the Haunted Mansion without ever setting foot in Disney World

Disney’s metaverse would allow people to experience park rides like the Haunted Mansion without ever setting foot in Disney World

Just last week, Chapek broke a months-long silence on an apology he issued in an attempt to quell Disney staff who were outraged by his failure to speak out against the controversial bill last spring, saying he chose to remain mum on the matter because he didn’t want to get Disney caught in a ‘political subterfuge.’

Chapek characterized the Disney metaverse as a way to experience the theme parks for the multitudes of people who are unable to actually make the trip in person.

‘We wish every person would have the opportunity to come to our parks, but we realize that’s not a reality for some people,’ he told Deadline, ‘we have before us an opportunity to turn what was a movie-service platform to an experiential platform and give them the ability to ride Haunted Mansion from a virtual standpoint.’

He said metaverse users would have an experience beyond what regular parkgoers have, and be able to step out of the ride-cars to explore sets and interact with characters.

‘Maybe we’ll give them the opportunity what every single person in the park wants to do, and unfortunately too many of them do it, just to get off the attraction. See how it works, see how those ghost dancers move,’ he said.

But many responded to the news by saying if Disney would just stop raising its prices, more of those 90 percent of people who cannot visit the parks would be able to.

‘Damn Disney. Just say it direct like that,’ wrote tech critic Juan Carlos Bagnell on Twitter, ‘90% of the HUMAN POPULATION is too poor to visit our parks, but hopefully some are less-poor-enough to own VR goggles and ride our rides in a metaverse clone…’

1663088181 985 Ex Disney CEO Bob Iger will join Jared Kushner039s brother039s venture capital

1663088181 985 Ex Disney CEO Bob Iger will join Jared Kushner039s brother039s venture capital

1663088181 358 Ex Disney CEO Bob Iger will join Jared Kushner039s brother039s venture capital

1663088181 358 Ex Disney CEO Bob Iger will join Jared Kushner039s brother039s venture capital

Commenters on the Deadline interview were equally unimpressed, with one saying ‘The reason 90% of people may not be able to experience the parks is because you keep hiking the cost of GOING to the parks beyond what most people can actually afford, Bob.’

‘Costs are up at the parks. Moral appears to be down. Iger had imagination and could adapt,’ said another.

Disney park prices have skyrocketed since Chapek was fully given charge at Disney in 2022. At California parks, ticket prices jumped 6 percent to $164 for single-park passes, while the price of getting into more than one park over the course of a day rose 9 percent to $319.

At the Florida parks the price to get into the park after 2pm rose to $169, while before 2pm fans were asked to fork over $194. Those prices could also rise based on an increased demand on any day.

‘If you’re the kind of person that budgets or saves for vacations, Disney Parks aren’t for you any longer,’ wrote a fed-up customer on Reddit, ‘That’s a Premium Physical Experience, and there’s plenty of national and international wealthy families to afford going indefinitely.’

Disney park prices skyrocketed since Chapek was fully given charge at Disney in 2022

Disney park prices skyrocketed since Chapek was fully given charge at Disney in 2022

Disney park prices skyrocketed since Chapek was fully given charge at Disney in 2022

And in August, as inflation scorched the US economy, Chapek warned those prices could continue to rise.

‘It’s all up to the consumer,’ he said, according to The New York Post, ‘If consumer demand keeps up, we’ll act accordingly.’

Chapek has hardly been the happiest CEO on Earth since he took the reins at Disney.

After beginning his tenure in February, 2020, he was thrust immediately into the chaos of navigating Disney through the perils of the pandemic, which saw the media company’s primary revenue streams – theme park revenue and movie theater tickets – vanish like a pair of glass slippers at midnight.

To help steady the ship, Iger – much to Chapek’s ire, reportedly – was kept on in a leadership position through 2021.

But as soon as Chapek was given full control in 2022 his price hikes had customers raising eyebrows about whether he was up to the same scratch as the visionary Iger.

Those doubts were doubled-down on by Disney staff after Chapek decided to remain quiet on Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill, a law which barred schools from discussing sexuality or gender with children between kindergarten and third grade.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the media giant's metaverse would exist on its streaming platform, Disney+, and allow people to experience park rides in virtual reality

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the media giant's metaverse would exist on its streaming platform, Disney+, and allow people to experience park rides in virtual reality

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the media giant’s metaverse would exist on its streaming platform, Disney+, and allow people to experience park rides in virtual reality

1663088182 895 Ex Disney CEO Bob Iger will join Jared Kushner039s brother039s venture capital

1663088182 895 Ex Disney CEO Bob Iger will join Jared Kushner039s brother039s venture capital

1663088182 194 Ex Disney CEO Bob Iger will join Jared Kushner039s brother039s venture capital

1663088182 194 Ex Disney CEO Bob Iger will join Jared Kushner039s brother039s venture capital

1663088182 273 Ex Disney CEO Bob Iger will join Jared Kushner039s brother039s venture capital

1663088182 273 Ex Disney CEO Bob Iger will join Jared Kushner039s brother039s venture capital

Many Disney employees viewed the law as homophobic and an affront to the inclusive values of Disney, and publicly voiced their outrage that Chapek did not speak out against it.

He later apologized to staff, publicly decried the bill, and announced Disney had paused all its political donations within Florida.

Last week, Chapek addressed that apology for the first time since he issued it, saying he had struggled to balance the needs and beliefs of every one of his employees and customers.

‘What we try to do is be everything to everybody,’ Chapek told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview, ‘That tends to be very difficult because we’re The Walt Disney Company.’

‘We certainly don’t want to get caught up in any political subterfuge, but at the same time we also realize that we want to represent a brighter tomorrow for families of all types, regardless of how they define themselves,’ he said.

 

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