The Walt Disney Company - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Disney - John Lasseter - New York Times
Michael Eisner is and his monetary (non-creative) style of management all but focuses so much on aquisition of non-traditional business entities that the Walt Disney Company negected it;s core business...movies and theme parks. The man who once said, "I am not Mickey Mouse" became oblivious to the importance of Disney quality...allowed the parks to fall apart, built new parks on the cheap, and allowed Disney boxoffice films to become a series of one irrelevant bomb after another. Hard to believe the man was so out of touch that he didn't even know that guns had been taken away from Disneyland's Jungle Cruise skippers.
Disney was in dire need of heroes that were both professional, and who remained in touch with their "inner child-at-heart". We owe a great deal of gratitude to a group effort by Disney fans everywhere for Eisner's defusion of power, and subsequent decision to retire. This effort to "restore the magic" was led by and large by Roy E. Disney and online bloggers, the most courageously outspoken and impactful being MiceAge/MiceChat's own great kahyna, Al Lutz. Roy Disney has earned his revered position with the company as it's primary Consultant, and Vice Chair Director Emeritus.
With Eisner gone, previously alienaed creative giants such as Pixar and George Lucas became on speaking terms with Disney once again. Robert A. "Bob" Iger officially replaced Michael "don't call me Mike" Eisner as President and Chief Executive Officer of the company in October of 2005. Concerns mounted at the time that Bob would adopt the same failing policies as his predicessor. He quickly dispelled these wories by demonstrating early on a genuine interest in getting WDC back on the right track...placing the emphasis on it's core...movies and theme parks.
Talks opened up with Pixar over the possibility of the progressive San Francisco based company becoming an assimilated aquisition of WDI. The way things worked out, I consider it more of a merger of the two companies. When Pixar was aquired by Disney in May 2006, it's co-founder, chairman and ceo Steve Jobs took a seat on Disney's Board of Directors. Jobs has served as an inluential director ever sense, second only to co-director, Bob Iger. In addition, Jobs has the destinction of being Disney's Chief Shareholder. In my opinion, this elevates his power and influence above that of WDC's chairman of the board. That said, Bob Iger is clearly the top banana. However, it is imprtant to note that Steve Jobs remains in comanding CEO of his company, Apple, Inc.
Iger and Jobs are two of the Three Corporate Caballeros referred to in the title of theis thread...our third hero being John Lasseter. The three together subscribe to a policy of responsibility to (and respect for) WDC's shareholders. "The Walt Disney Company is committed to governance policies and practices that assure shareholder interests are represented in a thoughtful and independent manner."
I would compare the roles of Iger and Jobs to be most similar to that of Walt's brother, Roy Disney. Functionally, it is John Lasseter that has become that creative, inspirational little bee that Walt was. Where operations are concerned, Iger is the only person in the company that outranks Lasseter. Nobody should underestimate the the power and influence wielded by John Lasseter throughout the company as Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, as well as being WDC's first Principal Creative Officer.
John Lasseter performs a pivotal role as the creative director for the animation studios and WDI (which he'd like to see returned to it's WED Enterprises moniker). There are those on this board that have attempted to paint a picture of him as a somewhat disrespected oddball that begs and whines for qualitative change...and rarely accomplishes a thing. A person would have to be absolutely NUTS to think such a thing. As discussed above, Lasseter and Jobs are the two most powerful individuals in the company... beneath Bob Iger. The three combined forces are indeed the Three Corporate Caballeros that run the Walt Disney Company.
When Lasseter let it be known that desired a larger budget for Cars Land, he got his way. When he told those associated with the production of the Princess and the Frog to travel around the Rivers of America aboard the Mark Twain (in order to implement that area of Disneyland into the movie as much as possible) , they did so. The coming PoF show aboard the Mark Twain will be so much more enjoyable to those who see the movie because of this insightful idea.
Would Lasseter desire for fans to think that when he tells people to jump, they do exactly that? Just like Walt, he's too humble a man to desire that image. Again to those who see meekness as weakness, all successful great leaders have always exercised good common sense people skills. He grew up on "Walt Disney, Goofey, and Mickey Mouse", and still loves toys of all kinds...including Hot Wheels and GI Joes (just as Walt was crazy about trains). But, people leaned not to toy with Walt...as they are learning not to try to railroad Lasseter off track.
"I am, by nature, an honest person...I wear my emotions on my sleave. There is no 'behind closed doors' with me. It's the nature of Hollywood that there are the people in power who tell them what they want to hear. We choose to be honest and open." Modeled after Pixar's "brain trust", Lasseter has established an analytical "story trust" for the purpose of holding critical examinations among story editors and directors of films. Meet the Robinsons and Up are two such examples that this form of diagnostic analysis was empoyed. It would be resonable to assume that he uses the same type of strategy to ensure the quality of theme park rides and other attractions.
He trusts his insticts in keeping the films of Disney proper and Pixar separately identifiable. Yet, the only movies he finds acceptable from either division are those that put the story in the forefront, and technology second. Disney/Pixar cultural competitive prominence in the marketplace is achieved by following this edict...as with theme parks and attractions.
The spirit that left Disney in the 90's is returning due to the Three Corporate Caballeros...the entrepreneurs that "Run That Mickey Mouse Outfit". As with the success of recent Disney films, the new priority on theme park investment represents a cohesive effort among Iger, Lasseter and Jobs. They work together as a team in support of eachothers notions to make theme park and movie experiences world class and unique.
The Three Corporate Caballeros have much to do in meeting the deadlines they have st for new movies and theme park/theme boat projects. Here is a list of some of the current imagineering projects -
- Hall of Presidents Refub - Magic Kingdom - Targeted Opening, July 2009
- Silly Symphony Swings -DCA - Targeted Opening Date, 2010
- Turtle Talk with Crush -Tokyo Disneysea - Targeted Opening Tokyo DisneySea, October 2009
- Space Mountain Refurb - Magic Kingdom - November 2009
- Mickey's Philharmagic - Tokyo Disneyland - 2011
- The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Adventure - DCA - 2011
- Disney's World of Color - DCA - March 2010
- Buena Vista Street - DCA - 2012
- Disney Dream - Disney Cruise Line - 2011
- Disney Fantasy - Disney Cruise Line - 2012
- Cars Land - DCA - 2012
- Toy Story Midway Mania! - Tokyo DisneySea - 2012