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Topic: Roy Disney quits/Eisner tries to erase Roy's name?, Roy's signature won't be on Wave 3 DVDs?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >

CarolKoster Offline

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Posted: Nov. 30, 2003 8:01 am/pm Quote

:(  :musicsad:  :sniffle:

Particularly for Feature Animation if Roy Disney isn't over there.  He cared about it.  It was Roy Disney who talked Michael Eisner out of scrapping Disney Feature Animation after I think it was "The Black Cauldron" came out in theatres in 1984 or so.  Eisner brought in Jeffrey Katzenberg to head that division and of course after 1984 'til Katzenberg left in 1995 to form Dreamworks after Frank Wells died the second so-called golden age of Disney feature animation began.  Now, does this mean that Disney Feature animation is going away?  No.  Disney FA has films in the pipeline and a contract with Pixar to hammer out.  But will this impact on talks with Pixar?  Future Disney-only (no partners like Pixar) animated films?  Oh yeah, baby, it will.  It's all still breaking news and will have to settle and play out over the course of months.  But I feel for Mr. Disney right now as well as feeling for fellow Disney fans.

:(  :musicsad:  :down:


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CarolKoster Offline

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Posted: Nov. 30, 2003 8:07 am/pm Quote

LA Times does have this story on it's WWW site, the Orange County Register quotes the Associated Press business writer's story.

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Posted: Nov. 30, 2003 8:21 am/pm Quote

Orange County Register 11/30/03 carries more information from Associated Press business story, quoting:

Nov 30, 8:16 PM EST

Roy Disney Resigns From Disney Co. Board

By GARY GENTILE
AP Business Writer
 
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Disney vice chairman Roy E. Disney has resigned from the media conglomerate's board, reportedly calling on chief executive and chairman Michael Eisner to also step down.

Disney's resignation may be a pre-emptive move to avoid being forced off the board of The Walt Disney Co. The board's governance and nominating committee has decided not to recommend Disney for another term because he is over the mandated retirement age of 72, the company said Sunday.

The full board is scheduled to meet Monday and Tuesday in New York; board membership is on the meeting agenda.

Disney, the nephew of company co-founder Walt Disney, has been increasingly critical of Eisner's leadership and has called for Eisner's resignation before, a move that was rejected by the board.

Disney is the last family member to be active in the company. He previously resigned from the board in 1984 to launch a stock battle for the company, which was then headed by Ron Miller, Walt's son-in-law.

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Roy Disney Resigns From Disney Co. Board

Disney and Stanley Gold, who runs Disney's investments from a company called Shamrock Holdings, were instrumental in preventing a hostile takeover and installing Eisner and Frank Wells to run the business.

Gold remains on Disney's board. Wells died in a 1994 helicopter crash.

Disney's plan to resign from the board was first reported in The Wall Street Journal, which said the 73-year-old sent a scathing three-page letter to the board Sunday, criticizing Eisner's leadership over the past seven years. Eisner, 61, has held the top post since 1984.

"It is my sincere belief that it is you that should be leaving and not me," Disney wrote, according to a text of the letter obtained by the Journal.

Disney accused Eisner of "muzzling" his voice on the board, although he did offer some praise.

"Michael, I believe your conduct has resulted from my clear and unambiguous statements to you and the Board of Directors that after 19 years at the helm, you are no longer the best person to run the Walt Disney Company," Disney wrote.

A call to Disney on Sunday was not immediately returned.

Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, the board's presiding director, issued a statement Sunday regretting Disney's actions.

"The Governance and Nominating Committee recently informed Mr. Disney of its judgment that the mandatory age limits of the company's Corporate Governance Guidelines, which had previously been unanimously approved by the Board, should be applied to him and two other Board members, Thomas S. Murphy and Raymond Watson," Mitchell said.

"It is unfortunate that the Committee's judgment to apply these unanimously adopted governance rules has become an occasion to raise again criticisms of the direction of the Company, and calls for change of management, that have been previously rejected by the Board."

Eisner is credited with building the company from a minor maker of mediocre films and proprietor of two theme parks in 1984 into a media giant that includes five theme parks around the world, the ABC Television network, the ESPN sports cable channel and one of the highest-grossing movie studios.

But he has been severely criticized for a series of blunders since 1994, which include the paying of a multi-million dollar severance to Michael Ovitz after serving less than two years as Disney president; the clumsy firing of former studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg and the severe decline in ABC's ratings.

Eisner has also been criticized for micromanaging the company and presiding over a "brain drain," as top executives have left the company over the past 10 years, including Katzenberg, Steven Bollenbach, who now heads the Hilton Corp., and most recently Paul Pressler, who left last year to head Gap Inc.

Disney's stock has fallen from more than $40 per share in 2000 to under $14 in 2002. The stock has risen nearly 34 percent since the beginning of the year as the company's fortunes have gradually improved.

Disney shares closed at $23.09 at the end of trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

In September, 2002, after months of often bitter infighting among board members about the company's declining fortunes, the board unanimously approved Eisner's plan for improvement, which included the most drastic changes in board membership since Eisner became chairman.

One of the changes included bringing more independent members to the board, which had long been criticized for having a too cozy relationship with Eisner.

Since then, another vocal Eisner critic, Andrea Van de Kamp, was dropped from the board.

The two other board members who will not be re-nominated due to the age limit are 76-year-old Watson and Murphy, 77.

Watson is one of the board's longest-serving members. As vice chairman of The Irvine Co., a large California builder, Watson was an adviser to Walt Disney on the design of Epcot Center and has been on the board since at least 1984.

Murphy served as chairman and chief executive of Capital Cities/ABC until Disney bought the company in 1995.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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CarolKoster Offline

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Posted: Nov. 30, 2003 8:23 am/pm Quote

I stand corrected as to the role Ray Watson played on Disney's Board and in learning who Mr. Murphy is.  Tigger58, thanks so very much for posting the breaking news.  To everyone else who've posted, many thanks.  Feel free to post your reactions, comments, questions, anything that comes to your mind.  But know this:  Roy Disney resigning doesn't mean the Disney company is going away or dissolving or falling apart.  It's a huge strong international corporation.  That said, it does seem that the governing board is about to go through some changes, and with that maybe some changes in direction for the company as a whole.  It's still playing out.  "Let not your hearts be troubled".  Let's wait and see what further news develops.  But if you have any opinions or questions or comments or reactions, do feel free to post them here.

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Posted: Nov. 30, 2003 8:34 am/pm Quote

Matt Drudge also has the letter:

TEXT OF ROY DISNEY RESIGNATION LETTER
Mon Dec 1 2003 00:42:12 ET

November 30, 2003

Mr. Michael D. Eisner, Chairman
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521

Dear Michael,

It is with deep sadness and regret that I send you this letter of resignation from the Walt Disney Company, both as Chairman of the Feature Animation Division and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.

You well know that you and I have had serious differences of opinion about the direction and style of management in the Company in recent years. For whatever reason, you have driven a wedge between me and those I work with even to the extent of requiring some of my associates to report my conversations and activities back to you. I find this intolerable.

Finally, you discussed with the Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors its decision to leave my name off the slate of directors to be elected in the coming year, effectively muzzling my voice on the Board -- much as you did with Andrea Van de Kamp last year.

Michael, I believe your conduct has resulted from my clear and unambiguous statements to you and the Board of Directors that after 19 years at the helm you are no longer the best person to run the Walt Disney Company. You had a very successful first 10-plus years at the Company in partnership with Frank Wells, for which I salute you. But, since Frank's untimely death in 1994, the Company has lost its focus, its creative energy and its heritage.

As I have said, and as Stanley Gold has documented in letters to you and other members of the Board, this Company, under your leadership has failed during the last seven years in many ways:

1. The failure to bring back ABC Prime Time from the ratings abyss it has been in for years and your inability to program successfully the ABC Family Channel. Both of these failures have had, and I believe, will continue to have, significant adverse impact on shareholder value.

2. Your consistent micro-management of everyone around you with the resulting loss of morale throughout this Company.

3. The timidity of your investments in our theme park business. At Disney's California Adventure, Paris and now in Hong Kong, you have tried to build parks "on the cheap" and they show it, and the attendance figures reflect it.

4. The perception by all of our stakeholders -- consumers, investors, employees, distributors and suppliers -- that the Company is rapacious, soul-less, and always looking for the "quick buck" rather than the long-term value which is leading to a loss of public trust.

5. The creative brain drain of the last several years, which is real and continuing, and damages our Company with the loss of every talented employee.

6. Your failure to establish and build constructive relationships with creative partners, especially Pixar, Miramax, and the cable companies distributing our products.

7. Your consistent refusal to establish a clear succession plan.

In conclusion, Michael, it is my sincere belief that it is you who should be leaving and not me. Accordingly, I once again call for your resignation or retirement. The Walt Disney Company deserves fresh, energetic leadership at this challenging time in its history just as it did in 1984 when I headed a restructuring which resulted in your recruitment to the Company.

I have and will always have an enormous allegiance and respect for this Company, founded by my uncle, Walt, and father, Roy, and to our faithful employees and loyal stockholders. I don't know if you and other directors can comprehend how painful it is for me and the extended Disney family to arrive at this decision.

In accordance with Item 6 of Form 8-K and Item 7 of Schedule 14A, I request that you disclose this letter and that you file a copy of this letter as an exhibit to a Company Form 8-K.

With sincere regret,

(Roy Disney signature)

cc: Board of Directors
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Posted: Nov. 30, 2003 9:00 am/pm Quote

Al Lutz at MiceAge.com has the text of Roy Disney's corporate biography, as copied from Disney's own site.  You can read it as long as Al keeps it up on his site, it's the text directly underneath his posted copy of Roy Disney's letter of resignation:

http://www.miceage.com  Takes you to the site's home page, from there if it's still up you can click on Roy Disney's letter and when you get there, under the letter, is the text of Roy Disney's corporate biography.


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Posted: Nov. 30, 2003 9:31 am/pm Quote

As a stockholder, I've been waiting for this.  While Michael Eisner with Jeffrey Welles helped to "save" Disney, Michael Eisner WITHOUT Jeffrey Welles has lowered the quality of the Disney brand considerably, and sadly.  

Many of the best "idea men" I've ever read about (or known personally) need that check and balance of a business mind paired with their own creativity, to keep a level of control.  When Jeffrey Welles died, that control was lost, and Michael refused to bring in another form of control to keep himself in check.

It will be an interesting week, as we watch to see if Michael responds properly, or if we end up with Disney without the family.  The fate of our favorite company hangs in the balance...

Mr. Eisner, I hope you do the right thing in this case.  We have appreciated your efforts, but it's time (past time, in many respects).  If it comes to a vote, I will vote against your continuing your tenure, and I know many others will do likewise.

Of course, that's just my opinion...I could be wrong.

-Chris
:flag2:


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Posted: Nov. 30, 2003 9:52 am/pm Quote

Yoo Hoo, Disney EchoEars!

I just created a poll about this which I urge all Disney EchoEars to vote on. (You need to have a fully-validated email address to be fully registered -- if you've previously posted a message or replied to a message, then don't worry, you're qualified to vote.)


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CarolKoster Offline

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Posted: Nov. 30, 2003 10:26 am/pm Quote

Quote (CHarrower @ Nov. 30, 2003 9:30 am/pm)
As a stockholder, I've been waiting for this.  While Michael Eisner with Jeffrey Welles helped to "save" Disney, Michael Eisner WITHOUT Jeffrey Welles has lowered the quality of the Disney brand considerably, and sadly.  

Many of the best "idea men" I've ever read about (or known personally) need that check and balance of a business mind paired with their own creativity, to keep a level of control.  When Jeffrey Welles died, that control was lost, and Michael refused to bring in another form of control to keep himself in check.

It will be an interesting week, as we watch to see if Michael responds properly, or if we end up with Disney without the family.  The fate of our favorite company hangs in the balance...

Mr. Eisner, I hope you do the right thing in this case.  We have appreciated your efforts, but it's time (past time, in many respects).  If it comes to a vote, I will vote against your continuing your tenure, and I know many others will do likewise.

Hi, Chris!  Just a gentle correction to your as usual right-on points:  It's Frank Wells who came in with Eisner in 1984 and who died in the helicopter crash in '94.  I agree with you, Chris:  Since Wells' death it's been like a fork in the road at Disney.  Some better decisions could have been made, or nixed at the outset, better people hired and retained, all kinds of forks in the road stemming from that one fateful tragic incident.  Staggering to think about it.  But Michael Eisner had in Wells someone very important:  Someone to tell Michael Eisner "no", mean it, and re-direct him to better pursuits.  Wells' was the Wall Street man of the two, Eisner at the time was more the studio head who knew Hollywood and how the business worked and how to work with creative people.  But Wells' had fantastic instincts of his own.  I remember reading posts on the old rec.arts.disney on Usenet about Frank Wells sightings at WDW, he'd come in and offer creative comments about improving this or that that turned out to be right on.  CMs liked and respected Wells.  His loss was immeasurable when he died.  Obviously, Wells' loss lives on today and in part led to Roy Disney's decision this weekend to resign.

And Matt Drudge ( "The Drudge Report" Internet news site) is discussing Roy Disney's resignation from the Board of Directors of The Walt Disney Company on his Sunday night radio show, as I type this.

I wonder if it was the accident report by the California accident investigators and Disney's admission this week that maintanance on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland was lax, I wonder if that was the final straw for Roy Disney.  As well as the age limit thing to remain on the Disney Board, that is.  Walt Disney thinking up Disneyland, Roy's own father instrumental in the financing for that park.... It's all combined business interests and family for Roy.  I wonder if that report and Disney's admission just hurt Roy's heart enough that he'd finally had enough.  We may never know.


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Posted: Nov. 30, 2003 11:09 am/pm Quote

Quote (CarolKoster @ Nov. 30, 2003 6:58 am/pm)
Roy Disney telling Michael Eisner and Eisner's close associates on the Board of Disney "what for" = Good.

Disney family member no longer on the Board of Disney = Not good.

Who knows what's gonna happen next = Priceless.

My feelings exactly :o  :Oo:

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