View Full Version : Shareholder Turnout

03-20-2003, 12:10 PM
This from the Rocky Mountain News:
It's a small world, after all, when you set up 1,000 chairs for your annual meeting but draw 42 not-so-warm bodies thanks to an epic snowstorm.

"It's an unusual morning and an unusual meeting," Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner told the assembled at the Colorado Convention Center on Wednesday. Disney usually draws 1,500 to 15,000 depending on the location.

This year's site was Denver, as Disney continues to move the meeting to give shareholders from around the country a chance to attend.

Disney did not forecast that there would be a little too much snow white on Tuesday and Wednesday, though. "How you got here when the roads are all closed is beyond me," Eisner said. "Many of you had to come by skis and snowshoes."

Reschedule? No. Eisner said Disney's annual meeting Wednesday was 13 full months after last year's meeting - the last possible day the Securities and Exchange Commission allows.

Shareholder Carl Richard made it by walking and hitchhiking. He was rewarded with an opportunity to ask one of about a dozen shareholders' questions. (The first, from a young girl: "What's your favorite ride at Disneyland?" Eisner: "Next time you come to Disneyland, demand 'a bug's land.' "

Most of the other folks at the meeting were out-of-towners who came to Denver early, before flights were canceled, and stayed downtown or with friends.

Lori Fields, a former Disney employee came with her husband from California and stayed with friends Warren Foltz and Kitty Sitar of Lakewood. All four came to the meeting.

Fields said "There are cast members who can't afford cars, can't afford insurance," yet Disney still gave Eisner a $5 million bonus. "We're still collectors, we still love Disney. We just don't like his bonus."

Disney's bonuses, Eisner said in response, are part of the "supply and demand world" in which entertainment talent is always offered millions to jump ship for a competitor. And managing the company in 2002 was "as difficult as in any year in which we had great success."

The meeting stretched for more than two hours as Eisner and executives Robert Iger and Tom Staggs ran through a presentation that acknowledged the weakness in the company's financial performance and highlighted the company's entertainment, past and present.

A protest by anti-sweatshop activists went off earlier than scheduled, as the New York-based members of the No More Sweatshops Coalition walked from their downtown hotels to the convention center at about 7:30 a.m. "Turnout has been lessened," remarked Russ Agdern, more than an hour later, as snow coated his hair. I think it's sad that Eisner doesn't know the parks very well, as evidenced by this comment: "Next time you come to Disneyland, demand 'a bug's land.' " Doesn't he know that A Bug's Land is in DCA? Or is it some cryptic message that indicates the two parks will be combined? Only the Shadow knows....


03-21-2003, 12:02 AM
Sara, Mr Eisner has been notorious of late for not getting his facts theme park facts straight at analyst meetings. During one such quote from last year's meeting Eisner tried to justify DCA's lackluster attendance in the following quote:

I think that even if you look back at DL it didnít really take off, from 3 to 10 million in attendance, until Space Mountain was put in. Same thing in Europe.

This phrase demonstrates perfectly just how out-of-touch Mr Eisner is with the parks. You would think he'd know the ins and outs of a division that accounts for over 30% of the company's revenues.

I looked back at DL's numbers and even double checked Disneyland Paris' since he lumped them together.

Disneyland reached the 10 millionth guest mark at the end of 1957, just two years and three months after opening. By the time Space Mountain opened in 1975 DL had drawn close to 150 million guests(avg of 7.5 million per year). Space Mountain did not open until 1977, thus having little impact on attendance prior to that.

Disneyland Paris' numbers were even more impressive. In it's first year of operation(1992), after haven opened in April, DLP drew 10 million guests, without the benefit of Space Mountain. Essentially they went from 0 to 10 million right off the bat. Attendance slumped by 2% the second year, compounded with an 8% slump in 1994. This prompted the developement and subsequent opening of the souped-up Space Mountain in May of 1995. Attendance went from 8.8 million in 1994(it's weakest year) to 10.7 million in 1995( a 22% increase). While SM had a dramatic affect on attendance in 1995, it did not take off from "from 3 to 10 million" as a result.

Someone should slap a dunce cap on Eisner and make him sit in a corner for a while

03-21-2003, 10:40 AM
Further evidence, as if we needed it, that M. Eisner is past due for his retirement party.


03-21-2003, 10:53 AM
He seemed to be fumbling the name of AK's new coaster, an attraction that had already been drawn out and fully conceptualized and could be unveiled as early as next month. He called it "Himalaya-something", but couldn't be sure. When it comes to mixing up details of the parks, Eisner at times comes across as the Al Gore of the corporate world. He just can't get his facts straight. It's one thing for laymen like us to mix things up every now and then. But for someone in his position, with the amount of inside information at his disposal, and the time to prepare for these meetings in advance, there's little excuse.

03-21-2003, 12:34 PM
Gee -- I was thinking the same except the Ronald Reagan of the corporate world. ;)