Bob Iger

Bob Iger

CEO at The Walt Disney Company

Bob Iger
By September 16, 2023 3:25 PM

It’s not an easy era in which to be leading one of the world’s biggest entertainment juggernauts, but such is Bob Iger’s lot.

He took over — for a second time — as Burbank-based Disney’s chief executive in November 2022 amid a fight between the company and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over Disney’s focus on diversity and inclusion. (“Woke!” as the governor and his supporters would put it.) Also this year, strikes by Hollywood writers and actors walloped Disney’s production capacity. Finally, in the spring, DeSantis engineered a takeover of Disney’s special tax district in Florida that Disney once controlled, and promptly chopped up its diversity initiatives.

Headaches one after the other. However, Iger’s power remains undiluted in Southern California. It’s just too big to ignore (though, in keeping with the media shyness of its corporate operatives, it ignored this list — the company did not respond to requests for comment).

In California, the company runs its 500-acre Disneyland utopia and rents at least 485,000 square feet of office in Burbank as well as various soundstages and other production facilities. It employs thousands of people in the region — even after 7,000 layoffs this year to clear money for its streaming push — and the Southern California presence is a big part of Disney’s approximately $149 billion market cap. Indeed, Iger’s January 2023 call for workers to return to the office in Burbank and elsewhere for most of the workweek grabbed headlines internationally.

Perhaps the company’s most notable regional foray the past 12 months involved the advancement of its 618-acre Cotino residential project in Rancho Mirage. It’s due to include nearly 2,000 homes, a lagoon, a 400-room hotel and tens of thousands of square feet of retail and restaurants — all from the ground up in partnership with Arizona-based DMB Development.

It’s the first project under Disney’s nearly 2-year-old Storyliving by Disney offshoot, which plans to build such residential-heavy neighborhoods from scratch nationwide.

More articles about Power LA 2023