"Michael Eisner, who led the Walt Disney Co. to huge success in the 1980s but more recently clashed with dissident stockholders including the founder's family, said in an interview published Friday that he will leave the company in 2006 when his contract expires."This is no real surprise, as a lot of people expected him to read the writing on the wall and slip off into obscurity when his contract expires.
It would've been better if he'd been ousted this past spring when Roy Disney and Stanley Gold initiated their "Save Disney" campaign and helped muster up a huge no-confidence shareholder vote against Eisner and most of the rest of the existing Disney Board of Directors. But Eisner held on, and looks like he'll hold on for a couple more years.
"Eisner recently told Walt Disney directors that company president Robert Iger would be a good successor, the Los Angeles Times reported. Iger, whose contract expires in September 2005, has recently met with investors and executives and told the Times he would like the top job."Iger is and was the head of ABC, and has not done a good job bringing that network around. Why Eisner, and more importantly Wall Street, would think he'd be the man to run the Walt Disney Company defies explanation. Iger may be a good guy, and maybe he'd do a good job but he will put business ahead of creativity - which is exactly what the WDC does not need.
Here's hoping the investors see what's what and pressure the Board to make a smart choice.
Oh, and in case they're interested - I'm available. I'd make the sacrifice and move to Anaheim to become Disney CEO. I'm that kind of guy.
PS - In all fairness, Eisner seems to have done some things lately (or at least not stood in the way of things) that are actually positive for the Disney customers. Disneyland is getting a much-needed overhaul in preparation for its 50th anniversary next year. But he would've needed to do much better in a shorter amount of time to lose the enmity he's built up over the last several years.