Today at the Hollywood Radio and Television Panel, Disney CEO and Apple board of directors member Bob Iger reminisced about his relationship with the late Steve Jobs.
Jobs became Disney’s largest shareholder after he sold Pixar to Disney for $7.4 billion, which also set the stage for Disney’s acquisitions of Marvel and Lucasfilm later on. Iger recalled that the deal almost never happened because of Jobs’ disagreements with previous Disney CEO Michael Eisner. When Iger took over, one of the first things he did was call Jobs.
“I don’t even remember it being totally premeditated,” Iger recalled. “I just decided to call my parents and my grown daughters in New York and a couple of good friends and Steve.”
He queried Jobs as to whether their relationship could be saved. Jobs responded that he felt like Iger was just “more of the same.” Jobs did eventually agree to talk, and the rest we know, as Pixar was sold to Disney, and the relationship between Iger and Jobs, and indeed Disney and Apple’s relationship, improved.
Saying Jobs was “relentlessly” honest, Iger remembered how he would call Jobs on Saturday nights to find out if the latest Disney movies “sucked.”
He found Jobs’ directness “infectious,” and told Jobs how much Disney needed Pixar to improve its animated movies. He found out later, after reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs, that Jobs was impressed by his honesty.
Pixar honored the memory of Steve Jobs in November by naming its main building after him.