Time names Bob Iger businessperson of the year, citing Disney's newest intellectual property: Baby Yoda

Time Magazine has selected Bob Iger as its 2019 businessperson of the year, citing not only the Disney CEO's years of massive success but also a galaxy-sized win that unfolded just one month ago: Baby Yoda.

Labeling the big-eyed, small-bodied creature "Disney's newest bankable piece of intellectual property," Time's Belinda Luscombe says that upon first seeing renderings of the character, Iger had a familiar, but rare, gut reaction: "He likens the feeling to when he was running ABC’s prime-time TV division and 16-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio showed up on 'Growing Pains.'"

Since the Nov. 12 debut of Disney's new streaming service, Disney+, "The Mandalorian" and its little green guy (whose as-yet-undisclosed real name is almost certainly not Baby Yoda, nor is he actually Yoda as a baby) have become two of the most talked-about, tweeted-about, and Googled-about subjects of the year. Although obtaining and marketing intellectual property has been at the forefront of Iger's business strategy, Baby Yoda is one of just a handful of completely new, globally-permeating characters to emerge in recent years — or even decades.

Iger has repeatedly made big gambles on major acquisitions: "In 2006, he made a $7.4 billion deal to buy Pixar from a guy who hated Disney," Time notes in its profile. He then purchased Marvel, which at the time had a relatively limited and overwhelmingly male following, and Lucasfilm "when the 'Star Wars' stories seemed burned out." The acquisitions gave Disney access to troves of existing characters, including countless comic book heroes and villains.

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Disney CEO Bob Iger
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Disney CEO Bob Iger
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 10: The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger attends the premiere of Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm's 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' at the Pantages Theatre on December 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1980: Bob Iger; 4th Annual Friends Finding A Cure Gala Benefiting Project ALS; Walt Disney Studios, CA; 04/29/2004 (Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 12: Bob Iger and Willow Bay attending Key To Life Gala at Pierre Hotel. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Bob Iger during 4th Annual Friends Finding A Cure Gala Benefiting Project ALS at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, United States. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 8: Disney's Bob Iger and writer/producer Mark Zakarin pose at the afterparty for the premiere of Miramax's 'Keeping up with the Steins' at the Pacific Design Center on May 8, 2006 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Bob Iger, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Cie attends the ceremony to honor movie mogul Michael D. Eisner by a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California, April 25, 2008. AFP PHOTO GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Disney's Bob Iger arrives at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's 34th Annual Dinner of Champions held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel on September 25, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Robert 'Bob' Iger, president and chief executive officer of Walt Disney Co., leaves the morning session at Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Wednesday, July 6, 2011. Media executives gather at Allen & Co.'s Sun Valley conference this week looking to shed assets such as the Hulu LLC video website and G4 game channel amid a declining global stock market and slowing economic growth. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of Walt Disney Co. attends Unveiling Moment At Barneys New York & Disney Electric Holiday Spectacular With Sarah Jessica Parker, Bob Iger, and Mark Lee on November 14, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Barneys New York)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 04: Chairman and CEO of Conservation International Peter Seligmann and Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company Bob Iger attend Conservation International's 17th Annual Los Angeles Dinner at Montage Beverly Hills on April 4, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage)
Robert 'Bob' Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of Walt Disney Co., arrives at the Sun Valley Lodge ahead of the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Billionaires, chief executive officers, and leaders from the technology, media, and finance industries will gather this week at the Idaho mountain resort conference hosted by investment banking firm Allen & Co. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company attends the dedication ceremony as ABC News headquarters in New York is proclaimed 'The Barbara Walters Building' ABC News Headquarters Dedication Ceremony on May 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Robert 'Bob' Iger, chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Co., arrives for a morning session during the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Friday, July 10, 2015. Billionaires, chief executive officers, and leaders from the technology, media, and finance industries gather this week at the Idaho mountain resort conference hosted by investment banking firm Allen & Co. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Walt Disney Company chairman and CEO Bob Iger speaks in front of a model of the new Shanghai Disney Resort during a press event in Shanghai on July 15, 2015. US entertainment giant Disney gave the first detailed preview to the media for its planned theme park in Shanghai, promising Chinese features and new attractions unlike its five other resorts, executives said. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
BOULDER, CO - SEPT 1: THESE PHOTOS ARE EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:01 A.M. FRIDAY, SEPT. 4, 2015. DO NOT PUBLISH UNTIL THEN. Sphero CEO Paul Barbarian show's off his company's new robotic toy based on the droid BB8 from the upcoming new movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Disney president Bob Iger asked the Boulder company to make the toy based on the character from the movie which opens in theaters on Dec. 18, 2015. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Chairman and CEO of Walt Disney Bob Iger holds a press conference at Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai on June 15, 2016. The Magic Kingdom comes to the Middle Kingdom this week when Disney opens its first theme park in mainland China, betting the growing middle class will spend big on leisure despite a slowing economy. / AFP / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Even without the hyper-speed success of the 2019 "Star Wars" series, Time's selection of Iger would have gone unquestioned. Since Iger became CEO in 2005, Disney has seen its profits increase 335%, according to Business Insider.

The Disney CEO shed some light on his business negotiation strategies in October during an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." The interview came not long after Disney and Sony came to an agreement on the Spider-Man franchise, drawing more than a month of fan outrage to a close. A deal was reportedly off the table and negotiations were initially fraught.

"I made a couple of phone calls ... and then decided to call the head of Sony and said, 'We've gotta find a way to get this done,'" Iger said. "You know what happens is, sometimes companies, when they're negotiating — or people when they're negotiating — with one another, they kind of forget there are other folks out there that actually matter."

Iger, 68, plans to retire from his position in 2021, which has sparked speculation about potential future endeavors. He's brushed off rumors of a possible 2020 presidential run despite a glowing endorsement from Oprah Winfrey, one of the most influential people in the world. Earlier this year, Winfrey declared that Iger's "guidance and decency is exactly what the country needs right now," noting that she'd be "knocking on doors" to campaign if he were in the race.

Read Time's full profile of Bob Iger, its 2019 businessperson of the year, here.

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Celebrities at D23 2019, Disney's annual expo
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Celebrities at D23 2019, Disney's annual expo
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Jeff Goldblum attends Disney+ red carpet at D23 at Anaheim Convention Center on August 23, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 23: Robert Downey Jr. gets a little help from Mickey Mouse as he places his hands in cement after receiving a Disney Legends award during the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, Aug 23, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 23: Christina Aguilera arrives at the Disney Legends awards during the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, Aug 23, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Hilary Duff attends D23 Disney+ Showcase at Anaheim Convention Center on August 23, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Gina Rodriguez attends D23 Disney+ event at Anaheim Convention Center on August 23, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: attends D23 Disney Legends event at Anaheim Convention Center on August 23, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 24: (L-R) Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, who's wearing Red Wing Heritage boots, at the Walt Disney Studios presentation at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019 in Anaheim, Calif. 'Onward' will be released in U.S. theaters on March 6, 2020. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Lady and Tramp D23 Disney+ Showcase at Anaheim Convention Center on August 23, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Anna Kendrick of 'Noelle' took part today in the Disney+ Showcase at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019 in Anaheim, Calif. 'Noelle' will stream exclusively on Disney+, which launches November 12. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Kristen Bell of 'Encore!' and 'Frozen 2' took part today in the Disney+ Showcase at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019 in Anaheim, Calif. 'Encore!' and 'Frozen 2' will stream exclusively on Disney+, which launches November 12. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 23: Robin Roberts is all smiles as she arrives at the Disney Legends awards during the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, Aug 23, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Elizabeth Olsen attends D23 Disney+ showcase at Anaheim Convention Center on August 23, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Yvette Nicole Brown attends D23 Disney + event at Anaheim Convention Center on August 23, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Grace VanderWaal attends D23 Disney+ event at Anaheim Convention Center on August 23, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Randall Park of 'The Falcon and The Winter Soldier' took part today in the Disney+ Showcase at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019 in Anaheim, Calif. 'The Falcon and The Winter Soldier' will stream exclusively on Disney+, which launches November 12. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 23: Diane Sawyer puts her hands in cement after receiving a Disney Legends award during the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, Aug 23, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Ewan McGregor of 'Untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi Series' took part today in the Disney+ Showcase at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019 in Anaheim, Calif. 'Untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi Series' will stream exclusively on Disney+, which launches November 12. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 23: Jon Favreau shows off his hand prints after receiving a Disney Legends award during the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, Aug 23, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 23: Robert Downey Jr. arrives at the Disney Legends awards during the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, Aug 23, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Corbin Bleu took part today in the Disney+ Showcase at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019 in Anaheim, Calif. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 23: Christina Aguilera gets a little emotional as she puts her hands in cement after receiving a Disney Legends award during the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, Aug 23, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Billy Eichner of 'Noelle' took part today in the Disney+ Showcase at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019 in Anaheim, Calif. 'Noelle' will stream exclusively on Disney+, which launches November 12. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Sofia Wylieof 'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series' took part today in the Disney+ Showcase at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019 in Anaheim, Calif. 'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series' will stream exclusively on Disney+, which launches November 12. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Kat Dennings attends D23 Disney + event at Anaheim Convention Center on August 23, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Sebastian Stan attends D23 Disney + event at Anaheim Convention Center on August 23, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Taika Waititi attends D23 Disney + event at Anaheim Convention Center on August 23, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
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