Building a Better Mouse

Bob Iger takes Disney's legendary brands into the digital age

David Strick for TIME

Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger poses in front of a Mickey Mouse comic at their Disney headquarters in Burbank, California.

Walt Disney chief executive Bob Iger is the antithesis of a brash showman. At last January's Consumer Electronics Show, a high-tech hype-fest in Las Vegas, another CEO peddled a two-wheeler onstage to tout his company's new bicycle-powered cell-phone charger. The understated Iger, wearing spectacles, a dark suit and white shirt, talked about strategy and happily let Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer, ESPN commentators and Lost cast members take the lead in unveiling Disney's multimedia-entertainment fare.

When Iger took over the top job at Disney in 2005, many dismissed the new chief, a onetime local-TV weatherman who had risen steadily through...

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