Monday, November 30, 2015

Twelve Years Ago This Day ...

Roy Disney departs Diz Co. President Emeritus Tom Sito recalls::

November 30, 2003 - Roy Disney Jr, the last serving member of the Disney family, was forced to resign from the Walt Disney Company.

It was claimed to be the mandatory retirement policy, but more likely he was forced out by the exec he hired to run the company in 1984- Michael Eisner. So Roy built a successful grass roots stockholders campaign

In 2005 Eisner was compelled to retire after the first vote of no confidence in the companies history. Roy Disney kept an emeritus board position until his death in 2009. ...

In point of fact, Roy Disney jumped from the good ship Mouse before he was shoved overboard. At one of the Guild's Christmas parties Roy told me ...

They didn't fire me off the company board of directors. They were going to, but I quit before they could do it. I could see the thing coming.

Michael had gotten pretty nasty. He wouldn't let me attend animation meetings in the hat Building. He kept me out of my office over there. So I could see the handwriting on the wall, you know? And I resigned. ...

Roy related all this when he was out in the corporate wilderness, running a guerrilla campaign against CEO Eisner. Over the next several months he and Stanley Gold went to state pension plans and large mutual funds and talked to boards and large stockholders about voting aginst Michael Eisner on the next proxy ballot.

Disney's stock was down, its profits were off, and Roy and Stan got listened to. At the next stockholders' meeting, 42% of the ballots were marked against Eisner and much of the Disney board. It's hard for a corporate chieftain to survive a vote total like that, and Michael Eisner didn't. Within eighteen months he was gone, Roy was allowed to participate in company affairs again, and the Walt Disney Company rocketed on to new heights of glory.

The remarkable take-away for me? The son of Disney's co-founder took down two chief executives of the same conglomerate, almost exactly twenty years apart.

And h/t to Professor Sito for letting us steal his stuff.


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