The Happiest Place on Earth -- Again
Business Week - 2/13/06
If new CEO Bob Iger's first annual meeting is any indication, the recent changes at Disney are all to the good
There was plenty of applause to go around on Mar. 10 at Disney's first annual meeting under CEO Robert Iger, who replaced Michael Eisner in October. Iger got a healthy reception from the estimated 4,000 Disney faithful in Anaheim as he strolled past Mickey, Donald, and other costumed Disney characters who were parading through the arena.
There was wild cheering -- and some whoops -- for former Disney board member Roy Disney, who led the shareholder revolt that eventually forced Eisner's early departure. Even Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, founder Walt's pre-Mickey Mouse creation, got a hand when his image flashed on the giant screen behind Iger. Rights to Oswald were recently reacquired from Universal Pictures, Iger explained.
"After 78 years we had a bit of fun bringing Oswald back to the place where he belongs," said Iger. "While this is a small gesture, it speaks volumes about commitment to honor, respect, and appreciate our past."
But the biggest hand was reserved for a guy who wasn't even at the meeting: Steve Jobs, the mercurial Apple Computer founder. Jobs is scheduled to join the Disney board in a few months, when Disney's $7.4 billion deal to buy Jobs's Pixar Animation Studios becomes official.
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