Trouble erupts at the top of the WALT DISNEY COMPANY,
December 1, 2003
Trouble erupts at the top of the WALT DISNEY COMPANY, with WALT's nephew ROY E. DISNEY announcing SUNDAY that he's quitting the company's board and calling for the resignation of President MICHAEL EISNER.
ROY DISNEY sent a letter via hand delivery to EISNER's apartment in NEW YORK blaming EISNER for the company's performance over the past seven years and for not picking a successor to his throne. The two men have been battling for the last few years over the company's performance, notably when DISNEY and board member STANLEY GOLD attempted to push EISNER out of the Presidency last year.
Adding to the corporate intrigue, GOLD has also submitted his resignation in a long letter charging that the board, "serving as a bulwark to shield management from criticism and accountability," and its Governance Committee was wrong in its determination that ROY DISNEY should retire due to age, since he was, GOLD says, exempt from that rule as a management director. GOLD called the board "an enabler to entrenched management ... not effectively discharging its duties to the shareholders."
The NEW YORK TIMES reports that the latest move comes after three board members were reportedly asked to resign because they have exceeded the company's retirement age of 72, with DISNEY being one (the others: former Chairman RAYMOND WATSON and former CAPITAL CITIES/ABC Chairman THOMAS MURPHY).