Even though Disney’s CEO Bob Iger previously suggested that the impending launches of Apple TV+ and Disney+ wouldn’t mean he’d have to leave Apple’s board of directors, we’ve learned today that he has resigned that position.
Spotted by CNBC, Iger’s resignation from Apple’s board was announced in an SEC filing and was effective as of September 10th, the same day as Apple’s iPhone 11 event where the company announced its Apple TV+ launch date and $4.99/month price.
A Bloomberg report back in March brought up the idea that Disney and Apple’s upcoming streaming services could be a conflict of interest for Iger and his role on Apple’s board of directors.
However, in April Iger suggested to Bloomberg it wouldn’t be a problem and noted he was careful to excuse himself when Apple TV+ was a focus at board meetings.
Iger revealed that he was careful to recuse himself at Apple board meetings whenever the topic came up. He added that streaming “has not been discussed all that much” by the Apple directors, because it was relatively small and nascent.
He gave a further statement at the time to CNBC:
Well, obviously, when you sit on the board of a publicly traded company, you have to be very mindful or your responsibilities, fiscal responsibilities to the shareholders of that company, and I have been. When the business of direct-to-consumer or television or movies is discussed on the Apple board, I recuse myself from those discussions. There aren’t many of them. It’s still very small business to Apple. And I’m not at the point where I, you know, I believe it’s problematic, but it’s something that I have to continue to monitor.
However, things must have changed enough in the last few months for Iger to reconsider. CNBC shared Iger’s official statement on the news of his resignation from Apple’s board:
“It has been an extraordinary privilege to have served on the Apple board for 8 years, and I have the utmost respect for Tim Cook, his team at Apple, and for my fellow board members,” Iger said in a statement. “Apple is one of the world’s most admired companies, known for the quality and integrity of its products and its people, and I am forever grateful to have served as a member of the company’s board.”
Bob Iger had a personal relationship with Steve Jobs in addition to their business dealings. Disney bought Pixar back in 2006, which was co-founded by Jobs. Jobs served on Disney’s board of directors until he passed in 2011 and he asked Iger to join Apple’s board before he died.
Iger joined Apple’s board in 2011. Iger was the chair of Apple’s corporate governance committee and on Apple’s compensation board, according to the company’s proxy filing earlier this year.
Tim Cook and Iger were also friendly. From the Sun Valley Conference this year, Bloomberg reported that the two were complimentary of one another:
Iger and Cook have also praised each other, with Cook saying Iger runs Disney like a tech company and Iger complimenting Cook’s leadership.
Apple TV+ is set to launch on November 1 at just $4.99/month. Meanwhile, Disney+ has seen a lot of interest with early offers bringing the service down to $4/month and is launching on November 12.