As a commenter noted below, after four decades at the Disney Co., Mr. Cook is shown the door.
... A person close to Cook said the movie chief "didn't see it coming." He was summoned into a meeting and was told the studio "wanted to go in a different direction," said the person. A Disney spokesperson denied the report.
But in a meeting Friday with colleagues, Cook described himself as "a square peg in a round hole," three people said.
The first evidence of discontent bubbled to the surface in a conference call with analysts in May, when Iger described the studio's performance as "disappointing" -- and placed the blame on Burbank's doorstep, criticizing the choice of films and the execution. Cook's departure comes nearly three weeks after Disney agreed to buy comic-book publisher Marvel Entertainment, producer of the "Spider-Man" and "Iron Man" movies, for $4 billion.
I know Dick Cook not at all. I met and shook hands with him in the lobby of the Frank Wells Building a while back; beyond that I have never laid eyes on him.
But it doesn't surprise me that he got blindsided and ushered out in the way he did; that's the way the game is played in Tinsel Town. You don't see eye to eye with the Top Dog, then pretty quickly somebody comes to your office with a stack of cardboard boxes ... and you are told curtly to "clean out your desk."
From what the media is saying, and what I've been hearing, Dick Cook and Robert Iger did not see eye to eye. A couple of years back a Disney Animation supervisor informed me that Mr. Cook had told him that the Disney purchase of Pixar was too rich, and shouldn't have been done.
If this is true (and obviously I'm dealing here with second-hand hearsay), then it's kind of obvious the Disney executive suite held differences of opinion. (And that Robet Iger knew about the differences.) It wouldn't surprise me if Mr. Cook was not thrilled with the Marvel pick up.
And so Dick "round peg in square hole" Cook is now exiting the Burbank lot. Under the circumstances it's hardly surprising. The Disney Film Group's performance was down, the two men didn't agree, so adios to the second in command.
Happy retirement, Dick. Thirty-eight years is a long ride. Especially in this day and age.