Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Michael Eisner spent his last day at the Burbank entertainment giant Friday. As promised, he sent a farewell e-mail to the company's 129,000 employees. Here are the highlights of the eight-paragraph letter:
I'm sitting in my office thinking about how much I have enjoyed working with the people who make up this company. I am about to pack up 21 years of pictures, books and letters and other Disney memorabilia from around the world that hopefully my great grandchildren will not sell on eBay….
I've learned so much over all these years from my partnership with you, from how to build theme parks to how the evening news is put together, from building an animated movie to building a legitimate theater on 42nd Street, from the revitalization of the 100 Acre Wood to the build-out of the thousands of acres of swamps and beet farms and landfill of Florida, Paris and Hong Kong, and even learning what a World Series ring looks like. I even finally learned the precise relationship of Huey, Dewey and Louie to Donald Duck. But I never really learned how to master reading a TV teleprompter. There is still time.
In 1984, there was plenty of room in my brain to acquire this much-needed knowledge. At my first speech on the first day on the Burbank lot, at the old gazebo, I met my first cast member, Angela Philo, and asked what department she was in. Her response, "BVD." "Wow," I responded, "I didn't know Disney owned an underwear company." …
This company, which I so love, is poised for a tremendous future, with superb management at all levels, entrusted to the brilliant and steady chief executive officer, Bob Iger. I want to thank everybody for letting me share a piece of your lives for two decades.
While I leave Disney with less hair than I had when I arrived, I do know creative inquisitiveness never ages or tires. I feel as optimistic as I did on Oct. 1, 1984.
By the way, I have since learned that BVD stands for Buena Vista Distribution. Good luck, and go see "Chicken Little."