Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Disney's Robert Iger on Apple's Steve Jobs

From the Wrap.

Iger talked about his experiences with the Apple co-founder. ...

When Iger learned that he was to be named CEO, one of the first things he did was call Jobs.

"I don't even remember it being totally premeditated," Iger said. "I just decided to call my parents and my grown daughters in New York and a couple of good friends and Steve."

He asked Jobs if they could get together to see if the companies' relationship could be "salvaged," Iger said.

"To his credit, he said, 'Okay. I think you're just more of the same…'" but he still agreed to talk, Iger said.

He also credited Jobs with being "relentlessly" honest and candid, even calling him on Saturdays to say if a Disney movie he saw the night before had "sucked." ...

It seemed to me that Michael Eisner started to lose his effectiveness when Frank Wells was killed in the helicopter crash in the mountains. Eisner's over-sized ego suddenly lost the ballast that Wells had provided, and bad decisions began to be made.

Multiple bad decisions. Why Eisner went to war with Steve Jobs and almost lost Pixar is a mystery. What Eisner was thinking when he banished Roy Disney from the board room and the hat building would be nice to know, because the move seemed incredibly shortsighted to me.

In contrast to Michael, Robert Iger seems a level-headed, even-tempered guy. Sure he's got an ego. (They all do.) But he doesn't allow his ego to pull him into the kind self-destructive behavior in which Michael E. indulged. At the end of Mr Eisner's tenure, Steve Jobs was in the middle of taking Pixar to another big entertainment company. And Roy Disney and Stan Gold were working overtime to get Eisner out of the company.

Iger, whatever his other strengths and weaknesses, doesn't seem to have the need to be an all-powerful monarch, and so he's been able write his final chapter with Diz Co. He's exiting on his own terms, and won't be pushed out in a power fight the way his predecessor was.


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