Bob Iger steps down from Apple’s board as Disney becomes a competitor
Disney CEO Bob Iger resigned from Apple’s board of directors Friday, just as the two companies are becoming streaming media competitors.
Apple on Tuesday announced the pricing and features of TV+, the company’s new Netflix competitor. It will cost $4.99 a month, $2 less than Disney’s soon-to-be-released Disney+ streaming product. Both TV+ and Disney+ will stream original television shows and movies to subscribers.
It’s common for executives to step down from boards when the companies they work for become rivals with the companies they direct. And with regulatory scrutiny of Silicon Valley heating up in general, it seems like a good time for the two sides to part ways. Apple’s board was previously eyed by the Federal Trade Commission for its ties to competitors. Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO, stepped down from Apple’s board in 2009 after Google’s Android became a viable competitor to Apple’s iPhone and the agency raised questions about the relationship.
In Apple’s previous regulatory filings about Iger, the company had noted Apple enters into “arms-length commercial dealings” with Disney, including content licensing agreements. But Apple said it didn’t believe Iger had a “material direct or indirect interest” in those negotiations.
Iger had served on Apple’s board since November 2011, a month after former Apple CEO Steve Jobs died.
At Apple, Iger was the chairman of the company’s governance committee and served on the compensation committee. He is one of the world’s highest-paid CEOs: His total compensation at Disney was $65.6 million last year. Iger has long been criticized for his high pay, including by Disney heiress Abigail Disney, who has been outspoken about Iger’s compensation.
Iger was paid $125,000 in salary and $250,000 in stock to serve on Apple’s board. At the end of last year, Iger held $11 million worth of Apple’s stock.