In one passage of the book, Stewart describes a pivotal meeting of the Disney board in September 2002, during which Eisner continued an alleged pattern of expressing reservations and even outright opposition to Iger's promotion to CEO. At the meeting, which Iger attended, Eisner complained about dissident directors Roy E. Disney and Stanley P. Gold, who would later resign from the board and lead a shareholder revolt against him.
"Stanley and Roy are trying to get rid of me. They don't think I can run this company. But who do you think can? Bob?" Eisner asked, turning to Iger and adding dismissively, "Bob can't run this company."
After an awkward silence, Stewart reports, some directors looked shellshocked and the meeting was quickly adjourned. The next day, Iger received a note from Roy Disney, saying: "I've never seen anyone treated so badly."
In August 1999, while vacationing on Martha's Vineyard, he received a "worried phone call" from Disney board member Thomas Murphy. Murphy was Iger's mentor and had been his boss when they ran Capital Cities/ABC before Disney's acquisition of the company.
Murphy told Iger, who then headed ABC, that he and other board members had recently talked to Eisner about succession. The Disney chief used the opportunity to "launch a long catalog of Iger's weaknesses and faults," Stewart writes. Murphy quoted Eisner as saying that Iger lacked "the stature" to head Disney and could "never succeed me."
"I hate to tell you this," Murphy told Iger, according to the draft, "but you have to leave. Michael doesn't want you at the company."
The subject of ABC's performance also came up during a two-day board retreat in 2003 at Walt Disney World, according to Stewart, and provided Eisner with another opportunity to question Iger's leadership ability and creative skills.
When Iger left after giving a presentation on ABC's ratings woes, the talk turned to succession. "If I had to choose," Eisner said, "it would not be Bob."