September 16, 2002 Disney investors in call for Eisner to split role From James Doran, Wall Street Correspondent SHAREHOLDERS unhappy about the continuing financial troubles at the Walt Disney Corporation will tomorrow demand that Michael Eisner split his combined role as chief executive and chairman and start looking for a successor. The shareholders, led by Herbert Denton, head of Providence Capital, an active investment company with a modest Disney holding, will meet in New York to discuss problems within the corporation. Mr Denton would present any proposals agreed by the investors, who represent about 20 per cent of Disneys capital, to the board. Mr Denton said: They are at the beginning of a restructuring and renewal programme, and investors want to know how long it will take, who is going to implement it, and who is going to run the company after it is done. He will demand that Disney adopts corporate governance in line with the UKs Combined Code. He said: We have a ton to learn from the British regarding corporate governance. You have suggestions which are regarded as the rule, whereas here we have rules that are merely regarded as suggestions. Central to Mr Dentons and his followers demands is a succession plan for Mr Eisner, 62, who has held the chairman and chief executive jobs at Disney for 18 years. Mr Denton suggested Mel Karmazin, president and chief operating officer of Viacom, the entertainment group, could be proposed as a replacement. He also wants the board cut back and re-formed. He said: Disney needs heavy duty industrial types rather than educators and artists. Disney shares have fallen by almost 30 per cent in the past year. Visitors, scared by terror attacks, have stayed away from its theme parks. Disneys ABC television network has also lost nearly a fifth of its viewers.