View Full Version : Does anyone know Michael Eisner's succession plan?

03-25-2003, 10:28 AM
Whether you call him "Uncle Mike", "Mikey","Ei$ner(tm)", "ME$(tm)", "GAD (G-d Acoording to Disney)", "The Next Walt", "the Evil Lord Sauron", or "The Devil incarnate" Michael is on his way out. I read on multiple threads that he is leaving this year. I also remember that when he was last called before the board that he had no succession plan.

My questions are simple,

1) Does anyone know more specifically when?
2) Does anybody know more specifically how the change will happen?
3) If this is top secret are there any juicy rumors about this?


03-25-2003, 10:50 AM
While I have heard rumors that Micheal is facing some stock price related ultimatums late this year, I have heard nothing that indicates he will leave this year (then again, I wouldn't know much more about than the average Joe who follows the papers and the rumor boards).

As far as his successions plans, In don't think he has any. I think his plans for departure are:

A) Grab as much money as possible
B) Leave with that money

03-25-2003, 10:51 AM
I honestly believe that ME will never leave on his own accord. A deal may be struck, but that would have to one heck of a a very lucrative buy-out package(remember Ovitz' deal?). Also ME has a very large ego, and as such will not admit or even acknowledge any wrong doing under his watch. The lack of admission on his part that there's even a problem(other than the usual outside suspects-ie the war,economy)makes his tenure one that will sink with the ship if you let him.

03-25-2003, 11:20 AM
I believe ME's contract runs through something like 2006 and would require on the order of $6M a year to buy him out... Just what I thought I heard, the details could be wrong.

As far as a succession plan goes, when there was a lot of Disney Board brew-ha-ha going on from November to as late as this month, I remember reading that the board did want to secure from him a succession plan. ME's main argument was that it would essentially make him a lame duck. As far as I can recall from the most recent articles, he did agree to create one (if he hasn't already) but it was to be kept in the strictest confidence. Thus, I don't think we'll ever know the "who" until it happens.

FWIW, I think that when it does happen, we'll see a CEO named with semi-Esner like qualities who'll stay around for a few years, mop-up a little bit of the mess and somewhat clean house before handing along the reins to someone who can completely take control and do what so desparately needs to be done. Only then will they be able to propel the company forward (or retract it into the core of what Disney should be...). Thus, I think we'll have an "interim" CEO for about 2 years or so and then a real CEO...

Another Voice
03-25-2003, 12:10 PM
Eisner has consistently and publicly refused to name a successor despite calls from the board and Wall Street to do so. His last public pronounced was probably the closest he's ever gotten to the truth. He said that the moment a CEO names his replacement, the CEO becomes a lame duck and he has no plans on becoming a lame duck. A basic rule of Machiavelli – never give the oppressed an option.

Eisner is "rumored" to have made some stock price promises to the board, but promise is as empty as my 401k at the moment. He has eliminated so much opposition on the board his control is tighter now than it was last year. If the stock doesn't hit the goals, he'll simply change the rules.

He's done it before; remember his contract directly tied his compensation to the company's financial performance. While the company was booming he reaped a billion dollars, all justified that since he shared the risk he should also share in the bounty.

But when the Company started to fall short of Eisner's contracted marks, he had the board rip up his contract and write a new one. Now instead of having to meet targets, his compensation is at the sole discretion of the board. That why in a year when Disney lost one third of its value ever financial marker was down that Eisner can be rewarded with a $5 million bonus.

Eisner is running the company as long as he wants. Right now his only interest is in finding a buyer to jack up the stock price and pay Eisner another hefty sum.

03-25-2003, 07:10 PM
The only change ME knows is from your hand to his. ;)

Bob O
03-25-2003, 10:19 PM
Eisners succession paln is to stay in his office until a SWAT team removes him!!!

03-25-2003, 11:06 PM

Walt's Frozen Head
03-26-2003, 01:02 AM
I've heard about the ultimatums but still don't see anyone who can back up the talk with a sufficiently big stick. I'm afraid Eisner hangs around until his contract runs out or he sells the company in pieces on eBay.


03-26-2003, 06:18 AM
From what I am reading, I guess that there is no substantiation to the rumor of him leaving. I guess I will have to remove this bit of hopefulness from my future posts...

“That makes me a sad Panda”
(reference: SouthPark, The Sexual Harassment Panda)


03-29-2003, 10:48 PM
I heard about an OHDB clause in the contract...

Every change that he doesn't like would have to be OHDB, or "Over His Dead Body"


03-31-2003, 12:13 AM
I feel Walt Disney's cryogenically frozen remains would do a better job running Disney at this point.

03-31-2003, 12:17 PM
I was just reading an article on fortune.com about Paul Pressler. In it they say that Iger (I think he's Disney's President) is not thought of highly as a successor to Eisner.

The article was saying that in a few years Disney's Board may be coming back to Pressler, depending on how he does at Gap, and perhaps wanting him to take the top job at Disney.

03-31-2003, 01:10 PM
Originally posted by mauijim
...The article was saying that in a few years Disney's Board may be coming back to Pressler, depending on how he does at Gap, and perhaps wanting him to take the top job at Disney. WHAT????



OK - that's the craziest thing I've ever heard. Pressler back at Disney to take over for Eisner??? I'm not doubting what you read... I just can't fathom that PP coming back to Disney would happen. But I guess anything can happen nowadays... If there's any amount of truth to this scenario it's truly sad.

Another Voice
03-31-2003, 01:37 PM
Let's just say that Paul is always one for promoting himself to the press at every opportunity. At one point it's "rumored" that he planted at story that he was being considered to head up TimeWarner. No one bought it for second.