People flock to Disney films for the entertaining comedy and drama. The process for picking Disney next CEO seems downright boring in comparison! And that’s the way it should be.

Based on the New York Times’ (NYT) article Disney Tackles Succession, This Time Without Drama, Disney’s current CEO Robert Igor appears to be addressing the planning process for his succession with abundant prudence and foresight.  The article reports that Thomas Staggs was chosen as Disney’s new COO, this being the likely last step in the process toward replacing Mr. Igor as CEO.  Here are some aspects of that process gleaned from the NYT article.

Bring in an Outside Perspective: Succession planning literature advocates for children to work elsewhere before joining the family business.  Among other reasons, this provides the company with a fresh, outside perspective.  As a former Morgan Stanley investment banker, Mr. Staggs brought some of this perspective to Disney when he arrived in 1990.

Well Rounded Exposure:  A full, well rounded understanding of the business and it’s operations are essential for any CEO.  Mr. Staggs’ immersion in the Disney Company began in strategic planning where he rose to the level of senior vice president.  His next step was finance where he served as Disney’s CFO for 12 years.  Finally, Mr. Staggs took over as head of theme parks and resorts in 2010 so, as the NYT article notes, he could be gain the the operational experience he lacked.

Corporate Culture Match:  A clash between a corporate leader’s personality and the general corporate culture can have disastrous consequences.  Mr. Staggs seems an ideal match for Disney’s culture.  The article quotes his co-workers as describing Mr. Staggs as “very artist friendly”, “a musician”, and “a little more polished, a little more charismatic . . . and little more Disney-like” than his competitor for the top job.

Orderly Transition:  Most importantly, the plans and schedule for succession have now been clearly delineated.  This provides essential stability for investors and staff.  And, it is a major improvement from the disaster that marked the last years of Mr. Igor’s predecessor, Robert Eisner, as CEO.

However, the NYT’ articles point out that, just like Disney/ABC’s drama “Grey’s Anatomy”, this episode of Disney’s succession process ends on a cliff hanger.  Mr. Staggs won’t take over until 2018 which leaves plenty of time for an outside, sleeper candidate to be considered for Disney’s top spot.

Stay tuned to this channel to see how the story ends.