UNITED STATES – Bob Iger has stepped down as CEO of the Walt Disney Company (DIS), and will be replaced by Bob Chapek, Disney’s Board of Directors has revealed.

Bob Chapek prior to his new role, served as chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

Disney said that following his resignation, Iger has assumed the role of executive chairman and will direct the company’s creative endeavors.

The company further revealed that Iger will stay on at Disney through the end of this contract on December 31, 2021.

“With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Iger said in statement.

Iger said he has the “utmost confidence” in Chapek and looks forward to “working closely with him over the next 22 months as he assumes this new role.”

Bob Chapek- Current CEO of The Walt Disney Company

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to assume the role of CEO of what I truly believe is the greatest company in the world,” Chapek said in a statement.

“Bob Iger has built Disney into the most admired and successful media and entertainment company, and I have been lucky to enjoy a front-row seat as a member of his leadership team.”

CNN reported that the transition was inevitable, but it was not expected to take place immediately and that some insiders took solace in the fact that Iger said he would remain executive chairman of the company.

Iger, succeeded Michael Eisner in 2005. During his tenure, Iger oversaw the acquisition of Marvel Studios, Pixar, and Lucasfilm, all of which produced films that shattered box office records.

Under his leadership, 21st Century Fox came into Disney’s fold, resulting in a new roster of intellectual property for the nearly 100-year-old company.

In 2019, he unveiled Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and at Walt Disney World to incredible fanfare. But among his final acts as CEO — and arguably one of the most important of his tenure — was the launch of Disney+, a streaming service with exclusive programs to compete with Netflix.

Iger said on an interview that it was the right time to step down because he needs to spend more time on the “creative side” of the company.

“I could not do that if I had to run the company on a day to day basis,” Iger said on the call.

In an interview with CNBC, Iger said his succession plans were “actually a few years” in the making and that Chapek was identified “awhile ago as a likely candidate” to succeed him.

Iger who has been at Disney for 45 years said that he would leave the company for good once his contact is up in 2021.