Iger Departs Board of Apple, Disney’s New Streaming Competitor

ImageRobert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, had been on Apple’s board since 2011.
Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, had been on Apple’s board since 2011.CreditCreditTolga Akmen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive and chairman, has resigned from the board of Apple, whose growing Hollywood operation would have made it harder for him to fully engage as one of its directors.

Mr. Iger, 68, resigned on Tuesday, according to an Apple filing on Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Also on Tuesday, Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, announced that Apple TV Plus, a subscription streaming service, will make its debut on Nov. 1 and cost $5 a month.

Apple TV Plus will offer a limited number of original television shows and films. But its arrival puts Apple in the thick of Hollywood’s so-called streaming wars. Disney owns Hulu and ESPN Plus, a sports service; Disney Plus, dedicated to all things Disney, Marvel, “Star Wars,” Pixar and National Geographic, will arrive on Nov. 12 and cost $7 a month.

Those offerings will join the subscription services Netflix, Amazon Prime and CBS All Access. WarnerMedia, owned by AT&T, will enter the fray with HBO Max next year.

Mr. Iger joined the Apple board in 2011, a month after the death of Steven P. Jobs, one of the company’s founders. (Mr. Jobs had sat on the Disney board since the sale of his Pixar Animation Studios to Disney in 2006.) When Mr. Iger became an Apple director, the company was still fully focused on computers, smartphones and tablets. More recently, as iPhone sales have slowed, Apple has started to look more seriously at the entertainment business — Disney’s bailiwick.

Mr. Iger told Bloomberg Television in April that he was careful to step out of Apple board meetings whenever the topic of an Apple streaming service came up. He said at the time that those moments were relatively infrequent because the board primarily focused on Apple’s biggest businesses.

“So far it’s been O.K.,” Mr. Iger told Bloomberg. “I’m in constant discussion about it.”

Mr. Iger declined to comment on his resignation beyond a statement.

“I have the utmost respect for Tim Cook, his team at Apple and for my fellow board members,” he said in the statement. “Apple is one of the world’s most admired companies, known for the quality and integrity of its products and its people, and I am forever grateful to have served as a member of the company’s board.”

Apple called Mr. Iger an “exemplary” board member, one of Apple’s “most trusted business partners” and “a role model for an entire generation” of leaders.

“More than anything, Bob is our friend,” Apple continued. “He leads with his heart, and he has always been generous with his time and advice. While we will greatly miss his contributions as a board member, we respect his decision, and we have every expectation that our relationship with both Bob and Disney will continue far into the future.”

Mr. Iger’s departure leaves Apple with seven members on its board, the smallest among the large technology companies. Facebook has eight directors; Amazon and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, have 10; and Microsoft has 14.

As the companies expand into new industries, there are more potential conflicts for their board members. For instance, Apple’s chairman, Arthur D. Levinson, a former chief of Genentech, is also an executive at Alphabet, where he has run a unit developing life-extension technology since 2013.

Jack Nicas contributed reporting from San Francisco.

A version of this article appears in print on , Section B, Page 4 of the New York edition with the headline: Disney’s Chief Departs From Board of Apple. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe