Walt Disney elects Iger as next chief

Robert Iger has been elected as Walt Disney's new chief executive, succeeding Michael Eisner, who has held the position for the past 21 years.

Iger has worked as Disney's president and chief operating officer since 2000 and is due to step into the chief executive role in September when Eisner officially retires. The appointment has failed to placate angry shareholders keen for the board to have considered an external candidate.

George Mitchell, the chairman of The Walt Disney Company board of directors, said: "Bob's experience at The Walt Disney Company, and his prior service at Cap-ital Cities/ABC, have uniquely prepared him for both the opportunities and challenges that face the company. He brings a deep under-standing of its culture, its heritage, its complex operations and its people."

Iger joined Disney in 1996 and, as the chairman of the Disney-owned ABC Group, he guided the merger of ABC with The Walt Disney Company. He was also the president of Walt Disney International.

Iger is also credited with helping to turn around ABC and managing much of Disney's day-to-day operations, as well as putting a new focus on technology and expansion in Asia.