The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, September 11, 2004  

Incompetent CEO to Depart Walt Disney Co.

What the hell took so long? Why do Disney shareholders have to wait so long? And why didn’t the board shove Eisner out of its own accord?

Questions for the ages.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times today reports, in “Eisner Decides to Leave Disney in Two Years,” by James Bates and Richard Verrier, that Michael Eisner, chief executive officer and former chairman of the board of the Walt Disney Co. will step down from the CEO position when his current contract expires in September 2006, two years from now.

As is customary for so many news articles, particularly those about the likes of Eisner, the Times reporters buried the lead. The real meat appears in paragraph six:

Industry insiders speculated that Eisner’s move may have been preemptive, giving him a chance to announce the departure, without the embarrassment of being pushed to do so by his bosses on the board, who have publicly supported him. A source close to the company said the board was not expected to renew Eisner’s contract and had not decided whether to cut him loose even sooner, should a successor be found before 2006.

No kidding.

I’m not sure if Eisner is or was the most overpaid CEO in America; I’ll let Graef Crystal answer that question. But just looking at the price chart for Disney’s common stock, accompanied by an examination of the company’s thoroughly inadequate business plan, if there even is one, it’s clear Eisner long ago had outlived his value and usefulness to Disney.

Good riddance, and bye-bye, Mike.

[Post-publication addendum: See also, “A Question of Succession,” by Sallie Hofmeister, the Los Angeles Times, September 11.]

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