Roy Disney has died. Disneyphiles know Roy, a longtime executive at Disney, as the fiery nephew of Walt who resigned theboard of the company in 2003, along with Stanley Gold, and fired adeadly shot at then-chairman Michael Eisner in the process in a letter for the ages:
As a young prince, Jeffrey Katzenberg made billions for the Magic Kingdom, but his ambition got him banished. Now the CEO of DreamWorks Animation has a (smaller) kingdom of his own — and every intention of living happily ever after.
When Disney-ABC agreed to sell its prime-time hits on Apple's iTunes, the deal set off a revolution inside the media giant. Now a digital team with the spirit of a startup is reinventing TV—And the industry is following.
With the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel grossing approx $132 million over the weekend, Disney's doing just fine in the post-Eisner era. Perhaps a media company can be run without a mega-ego at the helm.
Not long ago, industry wags lamented what looked like a rigged succession process at Disney, designed to replace larger-than-life Michael Eisner with his buttoned-down deputy Robert Iger.
For a lurid glimpse into life in the executive suite, you can't do better than the testimony in the shareholder lawsuit against Disney over the short, expensive tenure of Michael Ovitz. Shareholders accuse Disney's directors of botching their oversight of Ovitz's hiring and firing as the company's No. 2, and want $200 million — Ovitz's $140 million severance, plus interest. They claim Ovitz was so grossly incompetent that he should have been fired for cause, and gotten no severance package.
While Michael Eisner and Fanklin Thomas were by no means contemporaries at Disney, this weekend's news about recent developments in the lives and careers of both indicate drastically different leadership trajectories.