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Spartan Profiles: Bob Chapek

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FINDING NEMO, AND THEN SOME

            Disney is one brand that remains a formidable force in entertainment.  A key player is Bob Chapek, MBA ’84, president of Walt Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Burbank, CA, who is responsible for the marketing, sales and distribution of the company’s Disney, Touchstone, Miramax, Dimension and ABC/ESPN properties in the DVD and video marketplace.  Since assuming the top post in 2000, he has led BVHE to record-setting sales with titles as diverse as Pirates of the Caribbean, Finding Nemo, and The Lion King. 

            Chapek, who is also president of the Digital Entertainment Group, the association for the DVD industry, was inducted Dec. 6 into the Video Hall of Fame along with Sound of Music star Julie Andrews.  “That was an exciting night,” recalls Bob.  “To be recognized in your industry, and to share the stage with someone of her stature, I was humbled.” 

            Bob also attributes his success to being associated with Disney, but in fact, when it comes to Disney’s packaged products, Bob has been a leader and innovator.  He was part of a team that developed the “Direct-to-Video” concept—ironically, meeting at the Hilton in Universal City after an earthquake had paralyzed traffic.  He also developed the “FastPlay” DVD, for consumers who prefer to “lean back” rather than “lean forward” in watching DVDs. 

            A native of Hammond, IN, Bob calls his experience at MSU “the best investment I ever made in my life.”  As he recalls, “It was very practical and pragmatic.  There’s not an MBA program anywhere that is superior to what I experienced at MSU.”  He touts his former marketing professor, Glenn Omura, and now serves as a Broad Coach to mentor students and as a member of the Broad College’s MBA Marketing Advisory Board.  

            Looking to the future, Bob needs to resolve the emerging format war in HD DVD technologies.  “We have some time to bring everyone together,” he predicts.  “The ultimate solution is (format) unification.”

Author: Robert Bao

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