Coronavirus response: Disney's Bob Iger among business leaders named to California task force on job recovery

As Gov. Gavin Newsom turns his attention to the economic devastation in California brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, he's turning to business leaders, labor unions and four former governors to lead the effort.
Bob Iger, the executive chairman and chairman of the board of the Walt Disney Co., was among those announced Friday as members of a California task force aimed at reviving the state's economy as it officially enters an economic recession.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, speaking at his daily news conference on the state's response to the pandemic, said: "We recognize our unique responsibility as Californians to do our fair share, and to help lead the way in terms of job creation, retention and job growth."

In a later interview with KABC, Iger spoke about the obstacles he sees in getting people back to work.

"Clearly, making people feel safe from getting the virus is the biggest obstacle and it's clearly complicated," Iger said. "It's not just about -- as far as we know -- social distancing. It's about taking a number of steps, implementing a number of procedures to make sure that people feel safe."

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One of those procedures will be increased hygiene, Iger said, "but it's likely that we're going to need some mass testing, at scale, and some form of contact tracing as well so that we can identify people who have been exposed or people who have had the virus and may be of harm to others."

Those initiatives are needed in the absence of therapeutic medicine or a vaccine, which months is months to a year away, Iger said.

The Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery will have 80 members, though Newsom's administration did not immediately release all the names. It will focus on reviving the economy in the nation's most populous state, where more than 3 million of the state's nearly 40 million people have filed for unemployment.

Billionaire Tom Steyer, a former presidential candidate, will chair the task force with Ann O'Leary, Newsom's chief of staff. Former California Govs. Gray Davis and Jerry Brown, both Democrats, and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson, both Republicans, will sit on the task force.

Other members include Janet Yellen, former head of the Federal Reserve, Apple chief executive Tim Cook, and Greg Adams, chairman of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan.

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of this station. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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