Bob Iger, the renowned American media businessman and the current chief executive officer of the famous Walt Disney Company, is one of the most respected people in the world. In 2024, Bob Iger’s net worth most likely exceeds $700 million.

Prior to his 24-year stewardship at Disney, Iger had a long career at ABC, reaching the positions of COO and President there. He has remained Disney’s CEO for nearly two decades, helping the company grow and thrive in the cutthroat entertainment market.

In this article, we’ll tell you all about how Robert Iger became the CEO of one of the biggest and most culturally important companies in the world and how he amassed his fortune.

Robert Iger’s Net Worth Breakdown:

Iger’s earnings have changed drastically over the years. From the moment when he joined ABC and earned $150 a week to the point where he earned over $60 million in a single year, his current net worth is hard to track down.

However, we’ve done thorough research and put together a detailed breakdown of his earnings and assets, getting a reasonably clear picture of how rich the businessman is these days. Keep in mind that the CEO compensation listed below includes stock options in addition to bonuses and salaries.

Asset or Income Source Contribution to Net Worth
ABC starting salary $150 per week
Disney CEO compensation, 2005 $22 million plus $2.9 million share options
Disney CEO compensation, 2015 $44.9 million
Disney CEO compensation, 2018 $65.6 million
Disney CEO compensation, 2019 $47.5 million
Disney CEO compensation, 2021 $45.9 million
Disney CEO compensation 2023 $31.6 million
Disney salary as advisor to CEO, 2021 $2 million
Disney shares $135 million in 1.12 million shares
Total Net Worth $700 million

Bob Iger Net Worth: Early Life and Education

Robert Allan Iger was born on February 10, 1951, in New York City to a Jewish family. His father, Arthur L. Iger, was a World War II Navy veteran who worked in marketing and public relations after his military service. He was the executive vice president and general manager of Greenvale Marketing. Iger’s mother, Miriam Iger, worked at Boardman Junior High School in Oceanside, New York.

Young Bob Iger was raised in Oceanside, where he studied at Fulton Avenue School and Oceanside High School. Following his high school graduation in 1969, he enrolled in the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Television and Radio four years later.

Iger showed interest in the entertainment industry from an early age, taking part in a television show at Ithaca College, followed by a 5-month stint as a weatherman.

In his book, the former Disney CEO shared that he initially wanted to become an anchorman for a news channel, but he eventually changed his mind, which steered him toward Disney.

Bob Iger has been married two times – once to Kathleen Susan, with whom he has two daughters, and to his current wife, Willow Bay, whom he married in 1995. He has two children with Willow Bay, Robert Maxwell and William.

bob iger and wife
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Bob Iger Net Worth: A Storied Career in Entertainment and Innovation

Iger’s career started while at college when he hosted Campus Probe, a television show in 1972. He also worked as a weatherman following his graduation but, in 1974, he decided to shift his career goals and landed a job at ABC, the company where it all began.

American Broadcasting Company (ABC)

Bob Iger’s first job at ABC was menial labor on TV sets, for which he earned $150 a week. He switched several positions but remained unnoticed for over a decade until, in 1988, as a senior program executive for the Calgary Winter Olympics, he solved a major problem for the company, focusing on human interest stories to cover the delayed events caused by disruptive weather.

This piqued the interest of ABC executives Thomas Murphy and Daniel Burke, who subsequently helped the young employee ascend at the company.

However, not everything was smooth sailing for Iger at ABC. During his first years at the company, one of his bosses accused him of spreading rumors and almost got him fired.

He told me I wasn’t promotable and I had two weeks to find another job somewhere in the company or I was gone.” – Iger shared at the UCLA Awards Gala in 2013. “Fortunately, I was able to find another job in the company. They didn’t think I wasn’t promotable, I guess.”

Following this incident, he moved over to a new position at ABC Sports, where he worked closely with Roone Arledge, the head of ABC Sports at the time.

bob iger abc sports
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Climbing the Ranks at ABC

Eventually, Iger joined Arledge in the company’s leadership, becoming the vice president of ABC Sports. However, ABC was eventually sold to Capital Cities Communications in a deal in 1986 worth $3.5 billion.

bob iger and roone arledge
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Following this success and several promotions, Iger was named head of ABC Entertainment in 1989, working on shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos, Twin Peaks, and Cop Rock. Then, starting in January 1993, he was president of the ABC Network Television Group, a role he held for approximately one year.

That same year, the company appointed him as the senior vice president of Capital Cities ABC and executive vice president a few months later.

Finally, in 1994, Iger was promoted to president and chief operating officer of Capital Cities/ABC, the corporate parent of the American Broadcasting Company. This followed Burke’s resignation from the position, with Iger being the obvious next choice.

Bob Iger Net Worth: The Career of a Lifetime at Disney

In 1996, two years after Bob Iger was appointed the chief operating officer, The Walt Disney Company bought Capital Cities ABC for $19 billion and renamed it ABC, Inc.

In his memoir, Iger said that he had considered leaving Walt Disney at that point, but eventually agreed to run the newly merged company’s media division as part of the deal.

This decision was on the right side of history – in 1999, Iger was promoted to President of Disney International, the division that oversaw the company’s global operations. Only a year later, he was working directly under the CEO, Michael Eisner, and was tapped to become the company’s CEO following his reign.

Bob Iger’s Tenure as the Disney CEO

In 2005, Bob Iger succeeded Michael Eisner in the role of Disney’s chief executive officer. Two members of the board of directors at Walt Disney had started a campaign called “Save Disney” in an attempt to replace Eisner and started searching for the next CEO at the beginning of that year. This was due to tensions that were brewing between Roy E. Disney, the heir of the company, and Eisner.

save disney campaign
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However, even though Disney announced that Iger would succeed Eisner as the chief executive officer, Eisner held the title until his resignation on September 30, 2005. After the expiration of his contract at Walt Disney Company in 2020, Iger stepped down from the CEO position but remained executive chairman until his retirement over a year later.

On December 31, 2021, Bob Iger left employment at the Walt Disney Company but still served as an advisor to his successor, Bob Chapek, a role that granted him $2 million per year.

However, his retirement didn’t last long.

The company’s board of directors eventually asked him to return to the Walt Disney Company as its CEO, a position he took on again on November 20, 2022, following the immediate dismissal of Chapek. Although hand-picked by Iger, Chapek hadn’t garnered confidence with investors, overseeing multi-billion-dollar losses at Disney and being accused of being too upbeat when reporting the financial news.

In July 2023, the board renewed Bob Iger’s contract, indicating that he would remain the company’s CEO until 2026.

iger returns to disney
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Bob Iger’s Tremendous Impact as the CEO of Disney

During his 13 years at the helm of Disney as the CEO, the company’s market capitalization value grew from $48.5 billion to $257 billion. In his first year in the role, the company generated $2.5 billion in profit, compared to $10.4 billion in 2019 before his initial retirement.

One of his first major decisions was to reassign the company’s chief strategic officer, Peter Murphy, and disband the strategic planning division. He also worked to rebuild the company’s relationship with Pixar, which was strained at the time. The idea was to save Disney by buying its competitor.

Pixar Acquisition

Disney CEO Bob Iger called Steve Jobs, the majority shareholder in Pixar, hoping to repair the relationship between the two companies.

Iger shared in an interview:

I thought the fastest way to accomplish that, albeit at the riskiest and the most expensive, was to buy Pixar.

He continued, “When the notion of buying Pixar came to me, I called Jobs up. I was actually quite nervous. I said, ‘I’ve got a crazy idea, and I come up and talk to you about it?'”

The two met at Apple headquarters and, in 2006, the Pixar acquisition was completed for $7.4 billion in an all-stock transaction.

In the same year that he managed to acquire Pixar, Bob Iger made another successful acquisition – re-acquiring the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit from NBCUniversal, the character that had been Walt Disney’s first star.

Marvel Entertainment Acquisition

In August 2009, Robert Iger negotiated yet another major deal – the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment and its associated assets, which cost Disney $4 billion.

Fast forward to 2014, and the company had already grossed more than Disney’s investment of $4 million. Iger’s smart acquisition gave Disney access to the famous Marvel comic book library, which was the beginning of a record-breaking Marvel Cinematic Universe.

disney and marvel
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Lucasfilm Acquisition

In October 2012, Disney signed a new deal, this time with George Lucas, to purchase Lucasfilm for another $4 billion. This meant that Disney got the rights to the Star Wars franchise and Indiana Jones.

This contract wasn’t easy to land. Lucas was initially hesitant to agree to the sale because Star Wars was his legacy, but Iger warmed him up to the idea. The first Star Wars movie under Disney was released in 2015, dubbed The Force Awakens.

21st Century Fox Acquisition

The acquisition spree didn’t end there for Robert Iger. In July 2018, six years after the successful Lucasfilm purchase, Disney made a contract with 21st Century Fox to buy Fox assets. The deal was finalized in March 2019, with a price tag of $71.3 billion, making Disney the second-largest media company in the world.

At the time of the acquisition of 21st Century Fox, the company was owned by Rupert Murdoch, who, after the major contract, became one of the largest shareholders in Walt Disney.

Epic Games Deal

In his second tenure at Disney, Iger has continued his business model of working with and acquiring partners in adjacent industries. Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite and other top games, is attempting to close a deal with the media giant to collaborate on future games.

The deal, still subject to regulatory approval as of April 2024, includes a $1.5 billion investment in the gaming studio in return for equity. Fortnite players will gain access to character skins from across the Star Wars and Marvel franchises.

“Restore the Magic” Campaign Against Bob Iger

Starting in 2023, activist investor and owner of Trian Partners Nelson Peltz led a charge to shake up the Disney board. The high-value, high-stakes proxy fight was because Peltz hadn’t been happy with Iger’s leadership, describing it as “throwing spaghetti at the wall” hoping something would stick.

With a $3.5 billion stake in the company, Trian Partners spent $25 million on the campaign to replace Iger-supporting board members, which Iger and Disney countered with $40 million in spending on videos, pamphlets, and phone calls to shareholders. Eventually, the April 3, 2024, AGM returned a vote of confidence in the status quo, with the same board being reelected and only 31% of shareholders voting for Peltz’s board nominees.

Following the conclusion of the meeting, Iger said “With the distracting proxy contest now behind us, we’re eager to focus 100 [per cent] of our attention on our most important priorities: growth and value creation for our shareholders and creative excellence for our consumers.”

Earnings as Disney’s CEO

Bob Iger was pretty much an immediate success at the helm of Disney. Forbes reported that during his first year as CEO, he made $22 million and was awarded stock awards worth $2.9 million.

For the most part, he earned $40 million to $50 million per year in total compensation during his tenure as CEO, which included his base salary, bonuses, and stock grants. In 2015, for instance, he earned $44.9 million. His highest salary was most likely in 2018 when he was compensated $65.6 million. In 2019, he earned $47.5 million in salary and stock awards. In 2021, he earned $45.9 million.

In 2023, Iger’s pay package was over $31 million after a hefty pay bump following his return as the company’s CEO, though he earned significantly less compared to his previous tenure.

As for his Disney shares, he reportedly owns 1,127,143, worth over $135 million today.

Awards and Accolades

In September 2019, Iger released a memoir titled The Ride of a Lifetime, which quickly became a bestseller.

bob iger book
In December 2019, Time named Iger the Businessperson of the Year. A year later, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

In 2022, Robert Iger was appointed an Honorary Knight Commander by Queen Elizabeth II for services to UK/US relations.

Iger and his wife are known philanthropists. They committed $1 million to launch a scholarship for Iger’s alma mater, Ithaca College, called the Iger-Bay Endowed Scholarship. He has also been an honorary trustee of the college since 1999.

The couple were honored at the YES 20th Anniversary Celebration Gala in 2021.

bob iger receives award
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Robert Iger Net Worth: Other Investments and Assets

In addition to his salary from Disney, Iger also earns an undisclosed sum from several board memberships, including:

  • Chairman of the board at Disney from 2011 until his retirement
  • Member of the Apple Board between 2011 and 2019 – Iger stepped when competitor Apple TV+ was launched
  • Director of the dairy-replacement company Perfect Day
  • Member of the board of Genies, Inc. since 2022

Assets and Spending

Bob Iger and his wife, the journalist Willow Bay, purchased a mansion in Brentwood, Los Angeles for $19.5 million. Today, the property is worth around $33 million.

In addition to his real estate assets, Iger most likely has a private yacht, or at least has had one in the past. A proxy statement by Trian Partners in 2023 claimed that he postponed a meeting to “sail his yacht”. If he indeed owns a yacht, the asset is likely worth at least $1.1 million.

In addition to this, Bob Iger spends his incredible fortune on sports and is often spotted at NBA games, rooting for the LA Clippers. On average, a courtside seat costs around $2,000.

What Can We Learn from Robert Iger’s Story?

Robert Iger’s journey from modest beginnings earning only $150 a week to becoming one of the highest-paid CEOs in the world, has a multitude of teachable moments and lessons. Starting his career with ABC, Iger’s early days are characterized by a humble start and what seems to be a relentless pursuit of excellence.

His role as head of ABC Entertainment marked the genesis of his influence, showing that he has an innate capacity for innovation. Thanks to Iger’s guidance, ABC navigated turbulent waters and his success propelled him to new heights, landing the CEO role at no other than Disney.

As his career progressed, so did his reputation for visionary leadership. Joining ABC was just the start of his ascent. Under Iger’s stewardship, Disney experienced unprecedented financial success, fueled by a series of acquisitions and initiatives. From Pixar to Marvel and Epic Games, each move showcased Iger’s ability to capitalize on emerging trends.

Central to Iger’s narrative is his ability to take calculated risks. His bold moves, such as the purchase of 21st Century Fox, demonstrated his willingness to embrace change and chart new territories. Through it all, Robert Iger’s net worth soared to nearly a billion, a number that he is highly likely to reach in the following years.

Reflecting on his story, we cannot overlook the impact of his leadership on the entertainment industry and beyond. His journey is a reminder of the power of vision and perseverance, as well as strategic foresight.