Mr. Chapek, who has limited creative experience, became the seventh chief executive in Disney’s nearly 100-year history. He can come across as a bit stiff in comparison to the magnetic Mr. Iger, whose celebrated run at the company has made him a corporate celebrity. But what Mr. Chapek may lack in charisma, he makes up for with an uncynical admiration for Disney’s sentimental style of entertainment, gladly clapping along with the parade when he visits the parks and gamefully engaging in scripted banter with costumed characters.
Okay, I do the same thing, so I’ll give the guy some credit here.
Before joining Disney in 1993, Mr. Chapek worked in brand management at H.J. Heinz and J. Walter Thompson Worldwide. Raised in Hammond, Ind., Mr. Chapek has a degree in microbiology from Indiana University and received his M.B.A. from Michigan State University.
Mr. Chapek first made a name for himself at Disney by spearheading the company’s highly successful “vault” strategy for its iconic animated films, bringing them on and off the market in cycles that allowed Disney to sell the films repeatedly on DVD and Blu-ray discs. He rose to president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios before serving as president of consumer products for four years.
This vault shit was one of the most anti-consumer scams ever hatched by a company. Don’t get me wrong: From Disney’s point of view, this was a huge success, but it strikes me as a huge capitalistic middle finger to consumers being charged a premium just to get a copy of Aladdin on DVD back in the day. I’m glad iTunes and streaming have essentially brought an end to this consumer shakedown, but it definitely makes me wonder what other scams Chapek has up his sleeve for the future.
He was named chairman of Disney’s theme park operation in 2015, overseeing 170,000 employees worldwide. He has quietly shined in that role, helping Mr. Iger open the Shanghai Disney Resort; overseeing the construction of two colossal “Star Wars”-themed expansions at Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California; and finding numerous smaller ways to make the parks more profitable.
I’ll bet you a churro that the reason churros now cost nearly $5 each is 100% on Chapek.