Disney CEO Bob Iger's successor could be revealed in 2024, says his close adviser

It's possible that the Disney (DIS) CEO succession race ends before 2025.

"I think we may know this year, but [Bob Iger] has two and a half more years. So it wouldn't surprise me if it is extended a little bit beyond this calendar year into next calendar year," close adviser and Candle Media co-founder Kevin Mayer told Yahoo Finance at the Cannes Lions Festival on Tuesday.

Mayer is a former longtime Iger deputy, leading the launch of Disney+ before a brief stint as the CEO of TikTok.

Mayer, who said he has no exact date or specific insight into the process, added succession "will be very clean and very good this time around."

"In the not-too-distant future, he's going to make it known who a successor is so he has some time to spend with him or her at the helm," predicted Mayer.

There are reportedly four internal candidates being considered for the coveted position, which Iger held from 2005 to 2020 before returning in November 2022: entertainment division co-chiefs Dana Walden and Alan Bergman, parks division head Josh D'Amaro, and ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro. Walden is seen as having a slight edge, but it's far from certain.

The company could also choose to go with an outside candidate.

But what all media experts agree on is that the process must be executed flawlessly, following a high-profile bungling last time, when former CEO Bob Chapek was fired in favor of bringing back Iger.

Any new Disney CEO is getting a giant media ship contending with considerable change.

Disney signaled it is closing in on profitability for all of its direct-to-consumer streaming services and networks, according to its fiscal second quarter earnings results.

It topped quarterly earnings estimates days after beating back an activist attack from Nelson Peltz, but consumer spending has slowed at its theme parks.

This comes as the company's linear TV networks are bleeding business to streamers like Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN). The company is preparing to launch an unproven sports streaming business dubbed Venu Sports in the fall in partnership with Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) and Fox (FOX).

"While we are cautious on the media landscape due to pay TV sub losses and advertising headwinds, Disney is our favorite in the group due to the company’s unique content, improving streaming financials, and parks operation, which provides an avenue to attractively deploy capital," said JPMorgan analyst David Karnovsky in a client note.

"Challenges remain on the legacy side of the business, though we expect Disney can navigate this through more substantial cost savings at linear networks and novel distribution arrangements at ESPN."

Brian Sozzi is Yahoo Finance's Executive Editor. He is also the host of the "Opening Bid" podcast. Follow Sozzi on Twitter/X @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn. Tips on deals, mergers, activist situations, or anything else? Email brian.sozzi@yahoofinance.com. Are you a CEO and want to come on Yahoo Finance Live? Email Brian Sozzi.

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