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  1. #1

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    why did Eisner leave Disney?

    Since I can't get a definitive answer from doing research on line, can any knowledgeable MiceChatters tell me, as objectively as possible, why Michael Eisner parted ways with the Walt Disney Company in 2005? I've read about a falling out with Roy E. Disney, and a shareowners revolt among other things... but most articles on line are very vague and don't elaborate on any of these, and I know it was a combination of things. I'd really appreciate it if someone could break down for me what all led to his departure. Thanks!

    (I know many on here aren't fans of Eisner, so instead of just opinionated responses I'd really appreciate if people could just enlighten me on the facts of the matter. thank you!)

  2. #2

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    Re: why did Eisner leave Disney?

    I call it a Richard Nixon, in other words if he didn't step down he would have been voted out


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  3. #3

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    Re: why did Eisner leave Disney?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrsMonroe View Post
    I call it a Richard Nixon, in other words if he didn't step down he would have been voted out

    This does not help in the slightest.

    WHY, did he step down... that's my question.

  4. #4

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    Re: why did Eisner leave Disney?

    You should look at the letter Roy Disney wrote. The things Roy itemized in his letter were all great reasons for Eisner to step down. And you mentioned it yourself, the Save Disney campaign organized by Roy Disney brought about one of the greatest shareholder revolts in history. Sadly, it still wasn't enough to vote out Eisner. Eisner had burned so many bridges, that he knew he couldn't build them back, and saw his days were numbered. One of the major blows had to be the blowout he had with PIXAR, which nearly severed ties completely. You may also want to pick up a book called "The Disney War"

  5. #5

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    Re: why did Eisner leave Disney?

    You are not goin to find a short answer. Go pick up a copy of DisneyWar by James B. Stewart and start reading. I would also suggest Keys to the Kingdom: The Rise of Michael Eisner and the Fall of Everybody Else by Kim Masters, but DisneyWar is the more detailed work.

  6. #6

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    Re: why did Eisner leave Disney?

    Thank you guys for the suggestions. Yeah I know there is no short answer, and I'm not looking for one... I want to know the story and everything I find on the internet is just bits and pieces. For instance, I've seen "shareholder revolt" mentioned, but no explanation of what they were revolting over.

    Really all I want is just to know what the heck happened so I have some peace of mind. When I was a kid in the 80s Eisner was very well-liked... I remember him on "The Wonderful World of Disney" show and thought he was a cool dude. And I remember my Mom telling me that he was the reason Disney had expanded so much and that MGM Studios came into being, etc. Then like 25 years go by and now since I've joined MiceChat to join with other Disney fanatics I see that most people think very poorly of him. So really, just trying to get a sense of what went wrong, as I didn't pay much attention to the Walt Disney Company and Eisner between the 80s and the last few years.

  7. #7

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    Re: why did Eisner leave Disney?

    A series of missteps...

    The strategy for EuroDisney leading to massive debt and arguable location...
    The bumbled acquisitions of Fox Family and go.com...
    The power hording and resistance to any sort of succession plan or sharing of any power...
    The manipulation of the board members that threatened any sort of independence...

    Lots of executive management shuffles and ruffles...

    Basically Eisner pulled a Ceaser... and consolidated all power into himself. Then he basically marginalized all challenges to his authority on the board, and even moved to remove anyone who questioned his path.

    During this time, without Frank Wells to balance out his choices... the company started to have serious issues in their acquisitions and business choices. Included in the messes were battles over exorbarant executive compensation packages for Eisner and people he brought in (including the huge Orvitz disaster). Eisner wouldn't see the errors of his ways.. and when people like Roy started to challenge it.. it became a 'us vs them'. Roy and Stanley Gold worked to try to get Eisner removed.

    Read this - Roy Disney's letter to Michael Eisner | Media | MediaGuardian
    Read this - Roy Disney Resigns and Urges Eisner to Follow Suit - NYTimes.com

    If you want the full story.. read Disney War
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  8. #8

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    Re: why did Eisner leave Disney?

    Thank you Flynnibus, I very much appreciate all the insight!

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    Re: why did Eisner leave Disney?

    I think the last nail in Eisner's coffin was the battle with Steve Jobs and Pixar. Pixar was the only thing going right for the Disney company at the time and Eisner was doing his best to have Pixar walk away. Eisner was out and Iger was in, Iger's first duties were to renegotiate with Pixar which lead to Disney buying Pixar

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    A series of missteps...

    The strategy for EuroDisney leading to massive debt and arguable location...
    The bumbled acquisitions of Fox Family and go.com...
    The power hording and resistance to any sort of succession plan or sharing of any power...
    The manipulation of the board members that threatened any sort of independence...

    Lots of executive management shuffles and ruffles...

    Basically Eisner pulled a Ceaser... and consolidated all power into himself. Then he basically marginalized all challenges to his authority on the board, and even moved to remove anyone who questioned his path.

    During this time, without Frank Wells to balance out his choices... the company started to have serious issues in their acquisitions and business choices. Included in the messes were battles over exorbarant executive compensation packages for Eisner and people he brought in (including the huge Orvitz disaster). Eisner wouldn't see the errors of his ways.. and when people like Roy started to challenge it.. it became a 'us vs them'. Roy and Stanley Gold worked to try to get Eisner removed.

    Read this - Roy Disney's letter to Michael Eisner | Media | MediaGuardian
    Read this - Roy Disney Resigns and Urges Eisner to Follow Suit - NYTimes.com

    If you want the full story.. read Disney War
    Excellent post, Flynnibus. Thank you!

    From Roy Disney, Jr.'s letter that you kindly linked, what stuck out to me today were these two points:

    ". . . your leadership has failed during the last seven years in many ways:

    . . . 3. The timidity of your investments in our theme park business. At Disney's California Adventure, Paris, and now in Hong Kong, you have tried to build parks "on the cheap" and they show it and the attendance figures reflect it.

    4. The perception by . . . our stakeholders-consumers, investors, employees, distributors and suppliers -- that the Company is rapacious, soul-less, and always looking for the "quick buck" rather than long-term value which is leading to a loss of public trust.
    "

  11. #11

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    Re: why did Eisner leave Disney?

    "The perception by . . . our stakeholders-consumers, investors, employees, distributors and suppliers -- that the Company is rapacious, soul-less, and always looking for the "quick buck" rather than long-term value which is leading to a loss of public trust."

    I definitely felt strongly about this one. I remember around the time that Disney 'killed' off hand-drawn back in those days, I stopped wearing my Mickey Mouse watch. I still haven't been able to fully gain back the trust to put it back on, though I have regained some trust in the company since 2006.

    Still, even though things aren't perfect, California Adventure is now a place I'd have no problems spending an entire day at. I enjoyed Wreck-it-Ralph and Paperman.

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