At today’s Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger said there are 10 attributes every CEO should have. “A CEO has to be optimistic, thoughtful, decisive, honest, open, accessible, curious, they must listen to a diversity of opinions and they have to lead by example,” he said. Speaking to a packed house in UCLA Anderson’s Korn Hall, Iger and Dean Judy Olian discussed a wide range of topics from leadership style to navigating the Chinese marketplace.
Iger will receive the John Wooden Global Leadership Award tonight at The Beverly Hilton. The award is given for exemplary leadership and service to the community, with proceeds from the dinner funding two $25,000 John Wooden Leadership Fellowships.
Disney is one of the largest employers of Anderson alumni, and Dean Olian asked what the company could gain from hiring MBAs. “Companies today really need to be ambidextrous—and people need to be that. What an MBA brings is a broad perspective,” Iger said. “I like working with people who have business sense and creative sense.” He said that Disney is actively developing the next generation of talent that will have both sensibilities.
One of Iger’s biggest challenges is staying true to Disney’s heritage while remaining nimble and innovating to move the company forward, he said. “When you have a great brand, there's a lot of great tradition and history. But, you can't let them get in the way of innovation,” he said. “Frequently, the person who runs the company treats the brand as scared. If you do that you might as well stick it in a museum.”
Growing up, Iger’s heroes included Walt Disney, Martin Luther King Jr. and John Wooden, who all shared a creed he still emulates. “It wasn’t victory at all cost. It was victory with integrity while demanding quality,” he said.