Date: March 11th, 2021 4:12 PM
Author: Marvelous parlour
I was at a board meeting held in London a couple years ago where the focus was on expansion of the Florida property, which was reporting into Bob Chapek at the time. One of Chapek's lieutenants was giving an opening presentation on "Growth Themes" and she got to a part of the deck that had in bold letters "Homegrown Ideas: Overuse of Tie-ins and Cross-Promotion?" The slide pops and Iger cuts her off mid-sentence and says "what the fuck does this say?" She starts stammering; he's up out of his seat stalking over to her and in a second he's towering over her, his face inches from hers: "I asked you a fucking question." She's fear-ridden now, hyperventilating, frozen on the spot. No one else in the room is making a move. I start to get up to come to her and my senior partner mentor holds me back against my seat, whispering in my ear "You have to let this happen. I'm sorry." Bob grabs her by the nape of her neck and slams her head against the granite of the board room table once, twice, blood splattering everywhere, the crunch of a parietal bone, three times, four times, brain matter beginning to seep from her ears. The VP for Products turns his Aeron and vomits onto the floor; two junior analysts are crying against the back wall. Iger finishes this and then he looks up, scans the group, addresses the room without any hint of emotion: "We cross promote here. We tie in. We synergize. Understand?" People are nodding their heads; a Mexican cleaning woman is scuttling in along the far wall starting to clean up while two janitors are trying to drag the lieutenant's body out. Iger looks over to Chapek, tilts his head slightly to the side--he had this subtly odd, almost inhuman set of gestures--and says "Bob, can you pick up the presentation?" And Chapek nods gamely and just gets back into it, flipping to the next slide. He did a decent job although it's clear he was having to speak extemporaneously because he didn't want to follow the strategic tact that had originally been planned for fear of further reprisal from Iger. The sequence of the day has stuck with me ever since I observed it; I wonder if I should have done more, why my own partner mentor held me back, what the results would have been if I'd have clashed with Iger coming to that woman's defense. Some moments will stay with us forever to be relived without ever reaching resolution and I suspect this is one of those.