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Walt Disney World (WDW) News Discuss Disney Board Aims to Find New CEO by June in the News & Rumors forums; LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co's (NYSE IS - news) board of directors said on Tuesday it planned to find a replacement for Chief Executive Michael Eisner by next ...
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    adambreakey's Avatar
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    Disney Board Aims to Find New CEO by June

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co's (NYSEIS - news) board of directors said on Tuesday it planned to find a replacement for Chief Executive Michael Eisner by next June and then search for a new chairman, setting out a timetable for a change of leadership at the company after more than a year of shareholder protests.
    The full story...

    A couple of interesting notes about the story...
    - Disney is contracting an outside executive placement firm to find the next CEO
    - They have said they are looking at internal and external candidates, although Iger is the only internal candidate on the list. (which rules out dark horse options like Ouimet)
    - George Mitchell will be forced to retire at the end of his contract due to his age.

    I am pulling for someone outside of Disney... I would like to maybe see Steve Jobs at the helm. He has a keen business sense and a very creative side. Which sounds like a good match for Disney. Also Meg Whitman would be good - she worked as Sr VP at Disney for a while and now is the CEO of eBay.

    This will be fun to watch. I would like to be a fly on the wall during the decision making process.

    adamb
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    What about Lou ? I think he'd do a great job, and he could get us all jobs at WDW!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by adambreakey
    I am pulling for someone outside of Disney... I would like to maybe see Steve Jobs at the helm. He has a keen business sense and a very creative side. Which sounds like a good match for Disney. adamb

    What follows is my humble opinion:

    As I sit here typing on my iMac, and a long-time apple computer supporter, I'm not so sure I'd pick Steve Jobs for Disney. Yes, he's brilliant, but he has as much of an ego problem as Eisner. For all Apple has done technically, it still hasn't gained market share or significant increases in stock price. And he already runs two companies (apple & Pixar). As a leader of small, cutting edge, hip companies, he's very good; something the size of and with the corporate atmosphere of Disney? I don't see it happening.

    The one thing I hope Disney's board seriously considers is that Disney has always done its best when it had a balanced team at the top: Walt & Roy, Eisner & Wells, a creative visionary and a financial wizard.

    Again, that's just IMHO. Anyone else like to add their 2 cents?
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    Quote Originally Posted by disneydame2004
    What follows is my humble opinion:

    As I sit here typing on my iMac, and a long-time apple computer supporter, I'm not so sure I'd pick Steve Jobs for Disney. Yes, he's brilliant, but he has as much of an ego problem as Eisner. For all Apple has done technically, it still hasn't gained market share or significant increases in stock price. And he already runs two companies (apple & Pixar). As a leader of small, cutting edge, hip companies, he's very good; something the size of and with the corporate atmosphere of Disney? I don't see it happening.

    The one thing I hope Disney's board seriously considers is that Disney has always done its best when it had a balanced team at the top: Walt & Roy, Eisner & Wells, a creative visionary and a financial wizard.

    Again, that's just IMHO. Anyone else like to add their 2 cents?

    You hit the nail on the head as far as I'm concerned. I couldn't agree more with your opinion.

    Besides, does anyone think the Apple board would let Jobs just walk away?
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    Sadly Eisner will still be part of the board after he leaves. When they brought him and Wells into Disney, they wanted fresh new thinking. They should do the same now. I don't know much about the eBay CEO lady. But I am really going towards her at this time. eBay is a company that has set standard that no one has matched in their industry, and so is Disney known for. I would hope for a complete outside source but I know that is not possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrendyMagic
    Sadly Eisner will still be part of the board after he leaves.
    How does that work? He gave up his Chairman of the Board spot to Mitchell, right? So now he is on the board as CEO. When he is no longer CEO, how does he get to stay on the board? He said this week he wouldn't take the Chairman of the Board position upon his retirement.

    For all Eisner's missteps, he did do an awful lot of brilliant things for Disney - look at all the resorts, DVC, Cruise Line, etc. And even some of the most recent stuff is good (Mission:Space and Mickey's Philharmagic). No one else has the same 'big picture' perspective as he does, so if he remains just a board member, would that really be so bad?
    Again, IMHO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by disneydame2004
    How does that work? He gave up his Chairman of the Board spot to Mitchell, right? So now he is on the board as CEO. When he is no longer CEO, how does he get to stay on the board? He said this week he wouldn't take the Chairman of the Board position upon his retirement.

    For all Eisner's missteps, he did do an awful lot of brilliant things for Disney - look at all the resorts, DVC, Cruise Line, etc. And even some of the most recent stuff is good (Mission:Space and Mickey's Philharmagic). No one else has the same 'big picture' perspective as he does, so if he remains just a board member, would that really be so bad?
    Again, IMHO.
    Uncle Roy and Mr. Eisner have nothing in common. Uncle Roy now regrets he lost the Disney Company (and billions of dollars) to folks who could care less about the Disney magic and name, but are more interested in the bottom line and supporting their friends and relatives to get on the gravy train. If Disney goes bust who cares, there are always other companies to exploit--and so it goes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by disneydame2004
    How does that work? He gave up his Chairman of the Board spot to Mitchell, right? So now he is on the board as CEO. When he is no longer CEO, how does he get to stay on the board? He said this week he wouldn't take the Chairman of the Board position upon his retirement.

    For all Eisner's missteps, he did do an awful lot of brilliant things for Disney - look at all the resorts, DVC, Cruise Line, etc. And even some of the most recent stuff is good (Mission:Space and Mickey's Philharmagic). No one else has the same 'big picture' perspective as he does, so if he remains just a board member, would that really be so bad?
    Again, IMHO.
    I have to agree with DD on this, look at Walt Disney Productions in 1984 and look at Disney today. It was the last place "also ran" of the Hollywood studios producing a meager number of movies each year , far too many of which flopped. Disney today is a media powerhouse, yes there have been mistakes (including a few in recent years that are whoppers perhaps). Still, Eisner has done a lot of good in his tenure after Epcot Center opened improvements at WDW basically stopped ar a while, many things that were planned, for instance the boat ride for Germany, the seas pavillion originally scheduled for 1983 (which did finally open in 1986), and new hotels were put on hold including the Grand Floridian Beach Resort, and Cypress Point Lodge (original plan for the Wilderness lodge) , Although you can argue tha Ron Miller and whoever would have replaced Card Walker, might have made many of these moves eventually anyway, the stop and start track record of construction at WDW from it's opening until Eisner took over does not necessarily support that arguement. Expansion at the Walt Disney Company became an imperitive under Eisner and Wells tenure. That said I do believe it is time for a change, I just realize that the changes coming won't necessarily be for the better, in fact a new CEO will have a much harder time wringing new profit streams out of Disney than Eisner had, you see, the biggest problem the company had when Eisner came in was that the company was under utilizing it's assets and under valuing it's products, that can not be said of the company today. I view the upcoming changes with a good bit of trepidation, and just keep hoping that someone with a big soft spot in thier heart for the attractions division takes over. Possibly even more important than that is the 'big picture' mentality that Disneydame mentioned. Even if the next person to take over Disney does not put a lot into the Florida property the Walt Disney World we know today of so many themed hotels, a Downtown Disney entertainment Complex, Water Parks, and so much more will owe a great deal to the improvement made under the tenure of Michael Eisner. Also, I am hoping that this extended peiod of being in power but knowing that he is leaving will be a time where he may try to leave his final mark on Disney theme parks, perhaps he will be more likely to encourage a green light budgets for big new attractions (something for that reclaimed submarine lagoon perhaps?) as he feels that deadline looming.

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    You make a good argument for Mr. Eisner and his cronies, but that was then, this is now. I see no one at Disney giving back any part of their huge salaries to support the sinking ship. Capital Cities/ABC is a big drain on Disney. Disney's idea of owning radio and TV stations as a vehicle to promote Disney has not worked. With 55,000+ CM's at WDW alone this drains the corporate coffers quickly. Like any giant company, or small company for that matter, Disney would like the CM's to work more for less money and all the while boast the exec salaries. What is happening now is not unlike the days preceeding The Great Depression of the 1920's in the US and the world. Sooner or later the bubble will burst, the difference now is that the execs have golden parachutes and bail out ahead of time and let the little guy have the crumbs, if there are any. Can you say "ENRON?"

    Disney and all other companies are not in business to make anyone happy. As the president of General Motors said a long time ago, as I paraphrase, "We are not in business to make cars, we are in the business of making money" If we can't make money making cars, we will make something else."

    I wish someone would step up and buy the theme parks. Not going to happen though, not even Cousin Roy and Mr. Gold, who seem just as money grubbing. Greed is good!?
    Last edited by Jiminy Cricket; 09-25-2004 at 08:57 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiminy Cricket
    You make a good argument for Mr. Eisner and his cronies, but that was then, this is now. I see no one at Disney giving back any part of their huge salaries to support the sinking ship. Capital Cities/ABC is a big drain on Disney. Disney's idea of owning radio and TV stations as a vehicle to promote Disney has not worked. With 55,000+ CM's at WDW alone this drains the corporate coffers quickly. Like any giant company, or small company for that matter, Disney would like the CM's to work more for less money and all the while boast the exec salaries. What is happening now is not unlike the days preceeding The Great Depression of the 1920's in the US and the world. Sooner or later the bubble will burst, the difference now is that the execs have golden parachutes and bail out ahead of time and let the little guy have the crumbs, if there are any. Can you say "ENRON?"

    Disney and all other companies are not in business to make anyone happy. As the president of General Motors said a long time ago, as I paraphrase, "We are not in business to make cars, we are in the business of making money" If we can't make money making cars, we will make something else."

    I wish someone would step up and buy the theme parks. Not going to happen though, not even Cousin Roy and Mr. Gold, who seem just as money grubbing. Greed is good!?
    OK, but you can hardly call the Disney universe a "Sinking Ship". They are still making a profit, which is difficult these days. In fact, they are still predicting double digit increases over last year, and last year included the huge successes of Pirates and Nemo at the box office.

    Remember, too, that Disney is much more than the theme parks. It didn't start out as theme parks. The company that started as two animators in a garage continually and continues to evolve. It does its best when it remembers that it is in the entertainment business, and what Walt Disney believed in terms of quality over cost. But even when Walt and Roy were in charge, there were times the company was much closer to bankruptcy than now.

    If someone were to buy the theme parks and not the rest of the company, Disney would cease to be Disney. The original ideas for Disneyland were not only to give people a place to come and enjoy as a whole family, but to showcase Disney products and films, and give people a place where they can be closer to those films so that they would want to see more and buy more of Disney's products. If the theme parks were owned by one company and the films by another, either the licencing fees would create even more financial burden on the parks, or the characters would disappear and Walt Disney World would become another generic amusement park.

    As for the TV and radio not working, other than ABC, I don't agree. They may not have reached their maximum potential, but they definitely serve a purpose. Radio Disney has just come out with a line of pre-teen clothing (saw it at Kohl's this week): the clothes promote the stations which promote the parks/films/etc. Though why they chose AM stations is beyond me.

    The Disney Channel, while it could certainly use some more variety in its programming, a lot of what they are producing is pretty good. I don't let my kids watch the junk on Cartoon Network, and the stuff on Nick just doesn't interest them. And in half an hour, there are at least 3 breaks for Disney related (and pretty much only Disney) commercials.

    Yeah, it's true that Eisner hasn't mortgaged his home(s) to bankroll the next E-Ticket attraction. But he sure owns a lot of Disney stock.

    I'm not saying Eisner should stay, or that Iger should get the job, only that it is unfair to run one man up a flagpole and throw him in the same category as the swindlers at Enron. Mixed metaphors there, but hopefully you get my meaning.
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