CNBC’s Jim Cramer called for the firing of Disney CEO Bob Chapek after the Mouse House turned in dismal fourth-quarter earnings earlier this week.
“Disney, they have ESPN. If we were on ESPN, we would say he’s got to be fired. That’s pretty cut and dry,” Cramer said on CNBC’s business news program “Squawk Box” Wednesday morning. “The losses here are just mind-boggling. When you’re going over the quarter, it’s stunning.”
Cramer slammed Chapek for his “delusional” characterization of the quarter, in which the streaming service Disney+ took a $1.5 billion loss, causing the media giant to miss Wall Street’s projections.
“Our fourth quarter saw strong subscription growth with the addition of 14.6 million total subscriptions, including 12.1 million Disney+ subscribers,” Chapek said in his statement Tuesday.
“The rapid growth of Disney+ in just three years since launch is a direct result of our strategic decision to invest heavily in creating incredible content and rolling out the service internationally,” Chapek continued, “and we expect our DTC operating losses to narrow going forward and that Disney+ will still achieve profitability in fiscal 2024, assuming we do not see a meaningful shift in the economic climate.”
Comparing Chapek to a pro sports coach, the “Mad Money” host said Chapek “absolutely” should be fired because the “team” has been “going downhill.”
“There is just no doubt that he has to go,” Cramer said. “The way he handled it, he made it sound like it was a four-star quarter. Delusional.”
Chapek has had a bumpy ride as CEO at Disney, having grabbed the reins at the House of Mouse in 2020 after Bob Iger retired from his 15-year stint at the company. The former chairman of Disney’s lucrative theme parks division expressed how difficult his time as CEO has been during a panel at the Paley Center for Media in New York on Wednesday.
“It was really scary for me,” Chapek said, referring to the first few weeks as CEO, which was marked by the onset of the pandemic and the temporary closure of Disney’s theme parks.
“There’s no playbook on it,” he said, referring to the response to the pandemic. “You don’t know what challenge lays around the corner [as CEO].”
Aside from the pandemic, Chapek’s time as CEO has been marked by some big missteps by the exec, including a PR crisis early this year after Disney initially refused to take a stand against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ discriminatory “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Nonetheless, Disney’s board renewed Chapek’s contract for another three years in June.