Thursday, April 07, 2016


Peter Bart thinks this about the Walt Disney Company?

Short of Cloning, How Can Bob Iger Find Ideal Replacement For Himself?

... [Disney CEO Robert Iger] likely will have to emulate that initiative in choosing his corporate successor. The Disney he has created is not so much a company as a nation-state. That’s a tough role to fill. ...

But actually not. The kind of company Disney topkick Iger has created, as we've said before, is a Tinsel Town Berkshire-Hathaway. True, Disney isn't worth what Berkshire-Hathaway is, but there aren't any Hollywood Chief Executive Officers in Warren buffett's league.

But you get the idea; as B-H is a conglomeration of smaller companies, so is Walt's place now a conglomeration of entertainment brands (that also started life as small companies).

Finding somebody to replace Mr. Iger will probably be tougher than first thought, now that the company's board of directors gave a thumbs down to exec Tom Staggs. Oh well. ...

Add On: The New York Times suggests that Mr. Iger, as Mr. Eisner before him, undermined his designated successor so that he could extend his own tenure:

... In mid-March, Mr. Iger summoned Mr. Staggs to his office and dropped a bombshell: Mr. Staggs lacked the full confidence of both Mr. Iger and the Disney board, which had been discussing Mr. Staggs’s performance at recent board meetings. Mr. Iger told him Disney was going to broaden its search for his successor.

For longtime Disney employees and observers, the situation is all too familiar. Among Mr. Eisner’s heirs apparent was Jeffrey Katzenberg, who left to found the rival studio DreamWorks after Mr. Eisner famously reneged on a promise to make him president.

Michael Ovitz, the superagent who was at the time Mr. Eisner’s best friend, lasted less than a year as president before Mr. Eisner undermined him and then had him fired. Pressed by the board to name a successor, Mr. Eisner cited the entertainment executive Barry Diller, but then wrote a confidential letter to the board saying that “the fact he is a homosexual should have no weight,” which, at the time, all but guaranteed Mr. Diller would never succeed him.

Mr. Eisner was in the midst of undermining Mr. Iger, telling board members he lacked “stature,” when a shareholder revolt led by Roy E. Disney, Walt’s nephew, forced Mr. Eisner’s resignation.

While more facts may emerge, what is known so far “is fully consistent with Mr. Iger wanting to remain as chief executive,” Professor Larcker said. “There’s a long history in business of picking a successor and then discrediting them.”...

So ... we should start anticipating an extension of Robert Iger's current employment contract, yes? (Hard to give up the reins of power when everything is percolating along so well>)


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