Group: Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter/AdministratEAR
Joined: Aug. 2001
||Posted: Dec. 03, 2003 2:17 am/pm
Disney rebellion won't succeed "overnight" - Gold
LOS ANGELES, Dec 1 - Stanley Gold, the Walt Disney Co. (DIS) director who resigned from the board on Monday, said it would take time for a shareholder rebellion he and Roy Disney have started to reach its goal of ousting Chairman Michael Eisner.
"I don't think things change overnight.... There is going to be a lot of education" and talking with investors, Gold said.
Bitter Parting Words From a Disney
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 1 - Roy Disney's parting words to the company his uncle built were harsh, but few resonated more painfully than the charge that the Walt Disney Company has "lost its focus, its creative energy and its heritage."
A significant number of Hollywood executives would agree. ...some in Hollywood and some even in the organization say that Disney is creatively adrift. "All the great executives have been driven from the company," Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of Miramax, said. "I think there is no camaraderie anymore, no great esprit de corps that I found earlier. I think there was more risk-taking, a more fun company. I don't know why, and it's sad that it is."
While Michael D. Eisner, the chief executive of Disney, may put down this revolt, as he has others, Mr. Disney's blast reflects a widespread resentment among people like Mr. Weinstein, who is engaged in tense negotiations with Mr. Eisner, and other disgruntled executives who have left the company.
For the first time in recent memory the animation division has no hand-drawn movies in the production pipeline. Last month the studio pulled the plug on the last hand-drawn animated movie in production, "A Few Good Ghosts," raising the possibility that the company will close an operation in Orlando, Fla., which employs about 300 animators.
Disney names tech exec to board amid power battle
LOS ANGELES, Dec 2 - The Walt Disney Co. (DIS) on Tuesday named a software executive to fill the seat vacated by an angry Roy Disney who quit as the last member of the Disney family on the company's board in order to spearhead a rebellion against company chairman Michael Eisner.
John Chen, president, chief executive and chairman of database maker Sybase, will join the board in January, the company's directors said after a regularly scheduled meeting which followed the abrupt resignation of Roy Disney, nephew to founder Walt, and his close ally Stanley Gold.
The Disney board said Chen would help it navigate the new world of technology and an analyst said the Hong Kong-born executive would help Disney's theme park expansion in China.
JMP Securities software analyst Amy Feng also said she believed Chen could stand up to pressure on the board, a qualification that will be closely looked after Disney and Gold accused the board of rubber-stamping management decisions.
"I think he will do what is best for the shareholder, whether at Disney or at Sybase, and if that means disagreeing with Eisner, so be it," Feng said.
Disney is a Sybase customer but a Disney source said the companies did less than $25,000 in business annually.
Chen took over as Sybase president in 1997, when the company was losing money, and is credited with turning it around in terms of growth and profits, although it has not reclaimed its market dominance.
Sybase has also made strong inroads into China, while Disney is building a theme park in Hong Kong and considering a second one in Shanghai.
Trip Chowdhry, an analyst at FTN Midwest Research, said Chen avoided office politics. "He builds consensus. He is a person who knows how to dilute conflict -- his disagreements are not personal," he said.
Chen will join the board as an independent director, becoming the 12th director after Aylwin Lewis, president of fast-food restaurateur Yum Brands, Inc. (YUM) , who was named to the board in September and also joins in January.
His appointment comes as Disney is embroiled in a fight with Roy Disney and Gold who both resigned from the board earlier this week vowing to unseat Eisner from his job as chairman and chief executive.
Investors on Tuesday doubted that the fight would succeed, in part due to recent improvement in Disney's financial performance, but Roy Disney and Gold said they were in the fight for the long haul.
In a letter announcing his resignation on Monday, Gold said his former fellow directors made up "an insular Board of Directors serving as a bulwark to shield management from criticism and accountability."
A response from a group of independent Disney directors called Gold's statements untrue and accused him and Roy Disney of taking a "destructive course" in their efforts to effect change.
Chen, 48, is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He joined Sybase after rival Oracle Corp. (ORCL) had beaten it in many business arenas.
"From a strategic perspective, some of Disney's most significant long-term growth opportunities reside in the smart use of technology, and John will help the board ensure we're steering the company in the right direction." Eisner said in a statement.
Sybase Chairman, CEO, and President Chen Elected to Disney Board of Directors
The Walt Disney Company (DIS) Board of Directors Tuesday elected John S. Chen, chairman, CEO and president of Sybase, Inc., as a new independent director, effective January 2004.
John Chen's more than two decades of success as a business leader, and his expertise in the field of technology, made him an excellent addition to the Disney board," said Michael Eisner, Disney chairman and chief executive officer. From a strategic perspective, some of Disney's most significant long-term growth opportunities reside in the smart use of technology, and John will help the board ensure we're steering the company in the right direction."
Chen said he was pleased to be invited to join the Disney board, and he is enthusiastic about the company's initiatives to take advantage of the latest trends in technology to develop content as well as distribute it in new and more efficient ways.
"Disney is at the forefront of the convergence between media and technology, and it is exciting to be able to play a strategic role in that process," Chen said.
Born in Hong Kong and now a naturalized U.S. citizen, Chen, 48, joined Sybase, Inc. as president in 1997, and is credited with engineering that company's turnaround and sustained growth and profitability. Chen assumed the role of chairman and CEO of Sybase in 1998. He started his career in technology with Unisys Corp., rising to group vice president and general manager. Before joining Sybase, he was president and CEO of a Bay-area division of Siemens Nixdorf Informationsysteme, A.G., which is headquartered in Germany.
Chen graduated Brown University in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering (with honors), and earned his master's degree in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in 1979.
Source: The Walt Disney Company