New York Post 1/26/06
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January 26, 2006 -- Disney Chairman George Mitchell quashed a negative evaluation of Bob Iger by the media giant's executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles last year and never brought the report to the full board, sources familiar with the matter told The Post.

The banished report which few members of Disney's board even knew existed raises new questions about the legitimacy of Disney's search for Michael Eisner's replacement.

Sources said Mitchell felt the report, brought to him by Heidrick & Struggles' Senior Chairman Gerard Roche, was too negative on Iger, who was the preferred candidate of both Mitchell and Eisner to take Disney's reins.

Heidrick & Struggles also undertook evaluations on other candidates, such as eBay boss Meg Whitman and News Corp. President Peter Chernin, that were far more favorable than Iger's, a source said. News Corp. owns The Post.

At the time, Disney was facing a swirl of questions about how the search was conducted the company only interviewed one outside candidate, Whitman, who pulled her name from consideration. The company was later sued by ex-board members Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, who argued the CEO search was illegitimate and that Disney should be forced to disclose information on the search process.

"Despite the board's public promises to company shareholders that it would conduct the CEO search with 'open minds' and with no predeterminations or preconditions, in reality, the board's CEO-selection process precluded serious and effective consideration of external candidates," Roy Disney and Gold said when they announced the suit.
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