Disney CEO tells how Steve Jobs ‘shaped his thinking’

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Photo: Tom Bricker
The relationship between Apple and Disney strengthened under CEO Bob Iger. Photo: Tom Bricker/Flickr CC

Apple’s partnership with Disney goes back way further than the latter company’s recent decision to accept Apple Pay at Disney World. At the time of his death in 2011, Steve Jobs was the single biggest shareholder of Disney stock as a result of it acquiring his company, Pixar, in 2006.

Jobs got on particularly well with Disney CEO Bob Iger, who called Jobs in 2005 and asked if he could repair the damage that had been done to the Apple/Disney relationship under former Disney CEO Michael Eisner.

That relationship is examined in a new Fortune profile of Iger, which describes his six-year friendship with Jobs as the “relationship that has most shaped his thinking.”

The article makes for interesting reading, with tidbits including the fact that Jobs personally requested that Iger replace him on the Apple board once he was gone: a position Iger continues to hold today.

There are also a handful of revealing quotes, such as Iger making a very Apple-inspired comment on the divide between technology and the liberal arts:

“Occasionally [Steve Jobs and I] would stand in front of a whiteboard and talk about ideas. We’d just muse on business. When you think about it, media’s the intersection of content and technology — it’s all about storytelling, like photography and the camera. So we’d talk about that a lot, the intersection between the story and the gadget.”

Tim Cook is quoted as well, giving Iger an appraisal that could just as easily apply to Cook himself at Apple: “He has the courage to lose sight of the shore. He understands the tradition of Disney but isn’t wedded to it.”

The entire article can be read here. When you read just how deeply Jobs was involved at Disney, it’s no wonder the company chose to honor him with a Disney Legends Award after his passing.