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Chairman Of Walt Disney Co. Board Of Directors Stepping Down

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(credit: Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images)

(credit: Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images)

BURBANK (CBS) —  The chairman of The Walt Disney Company board of directors will step down in March and will be replaced by company Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger, the company announced Friday.

Board Chairman John E. Pepper Jr. will retire during Disney’s 2012 annual shareholder meeting, according to the company.

Until then, Iger will remain president and CEO.

As part of a leadership-transition plan, Disney agreed to extend Iger’s contract, which had been set to expire Jan. 31, 2013, until the end of June 2016.

Once Pepper steps down, Iger will hold the positions of chairman and chief executive officer until March 31, 2015, when a new CEO will be chosen.

Iger will then have the title executive chairman for the balance of his contract.

“As one of the most iconic brands and preeminent companies in the world, The Walt Disney Company requires a leader with the proven ability to drive creative and financial success in a dynamic world,” Pepper said. “For more than six years, Bob Iger has proven he has that ability at the highest level.

“The board is delighted that the company has been able to secure the longer-term continuation of Bob’s unique blend of experience and leadership skills,” he said. “His ability to bring together the many parts of Disney’s business against a clear and proven strategy, while instilling a culture of innovation, collaboration and discipline, will continue to serve the long-term interests of shareholders.”

Company officials said they wanted to ensure an “effective, seamless succession and management transition” once Pepper retires.

Iger, 60, has been president and CEO of Disney since Sept. 30, 2005.

Under the new agreement, Iger will have a base salary of $2.5 million a year, along with an annual bonus based on company performance and an annual equity incentive award of options and restricted stock.

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