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OT- But shocking news- Roy Disney Resigns...

Discussion in 'Archive' started by Tink, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. Tink

    Tink Member

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    It was reported in multiple major newspapers today that Roy Disney has resigned from all active roles in the Disney Company. In his resignation letter, which was made public as part of the fun legal rules surrounding public-owned companies, he was quite nasty to Eisner. MiceAge.com has the complete text of his letter, which I'm also posting here...

    Curiouser and curiouser....

    Tink


    Complete text of Roy E. Disney's Resignation Letter

    ROY EDWARD DISNEY

    November 30, 2003

    Mr. Michael D. Eisner, Chairman
    The Walt Disney Company
    500 South Buena Vista Street
    Burbank, CA 91521

    Dear Michael:

    It is with deep sadness and regret that I send you this letter of resignation from the Walt Disney Company, both as Chairman of the Feature Animation Division and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.

    You well know that you and I have had serious differences of opinion about the direction and style of management in the Company in recent years. For whatever reason, you have driven a wedge between me and those I work with even to the extent of requiring some of my associates to report my conversations and activities back to you. I find this intolerable.

    Finally, you discussed with the Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors its decision to leave my name off the slate of directors to be elected in the coming year, effectively muzzling my voice on the board-- much as you did with Andrea Van de Kamp last year.

    Michael, I believe your conduct has resulted from my clear and unambiguous statements to you and to the Board of Directors that after 19 years at the helm you are no longer the best person to run the Walt Disney Company. You had a very successful first 10-plus years at the company in partnership with Frank Wells, for which I salute you. But, since Frank's untimely death in 1994, the Company has lost its focus, its creative energy, and its heritage.

    As I have said, and as Stanley Gold has documented in letters to you and other members of the Board, this Company, under your leadership has failed during the last seven years in many ways:

    1. The failure to bring back ABC Prime Time from the ratings abyss it has been in for years and your inability to program successfully the ABC Family Channel. Both of these failures have had, and I believe will continue to have, significant adverse impact on shareholder value.

    2. Your consistent micro-management of everyone around you with the resulting loss of morale throughout the Company.

    3. The timidity of your investments in our theme park business. At Disney's California Adventure, Paris and now in Hong Kong, you have tried to build parks "on the cheap" and they show it and the attendance figures reflect it.

    4. The perception by all of our stakeholders -- consumers, investors, employees, distributors and suppliers -- that the company is rapacious, soul-less, and always looking for the "quick buck" rather than long-term value which is leading to a loss of public trust.

    5. The creative brain drain of the last several years, which is real and continuing, and damages our Company with the loss of every talented employee.

    6. Your failure to establish and build constructive relationships with creative partners, especially Pixar, Miramax, and the cable companies distributing our products.

    7. Your consistent refusal to establish a clear succession plan.

    In conclusion, Michael, it is my sincere belief that it is you who should be leaving and not me. Accordingly, I once again call for your resignation or retirement. The Walt Disney Company deserves fresh, energetic leadership at this challenging time in its history just as it did in 1984 when I headed a restructuring which resulted in your recruitment to the Company.

    I have and will always have an enormous allegiance and respect for this Company, founded by my uncle, Walt, and father, Roy, and to our faithful employees and loyal stockholders. I don't know if you and and other directors can comprehend how painful it is for me and the extended Disney family to arrive at this decision.

    In accordance with Item 6 of Form S-K and Item 7 of Schedule 14A, I request that you disclose this letter and that you file a copy of this letter as an exhibit to a Company Form 8-K.

    With sincere regret,

    (signed) Roy E. Disney

    cc: Board of Directors
     
  2. SharonKurland

    SharonKurland Active Member

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    Ayep...read about it on several other message bases as well. Unbelievable, huh? Will be interesting to see what, if anything, happens in the future...

    -Sharon-
     
  3. X-S Tech

    X-S Tech Active Member

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    Wow. Nice to hear someone within the company (even if he's out) say everything that the rest of us have been thinking. Hopefully this has some effect.
     
  4. chris

    chris Member

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    My gosh. Congrats to Roy for having courage to do this and speak out. It really is amazing and sad. He really does say so much of what we have voiced for a while now. Thanks for posting his letter.
     
  5. Dirk

    Dirk Member

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    While I applaud Roy Disney for his decision to insist on this letter being released to the public unfortunately I don't see anything happening due to this.

    Roy Disney has voiced his concern about the failing management skills of Mr. Eisner frequently in the past years but even when the shares crashed and millions just wiped out of the accounts of shareholders by this the shareholders were unable or unwilling to rally behind Roy even so he had the largest share depot of TWDC.

    In fact even so I do love Roy Disney and think his oppinion about Mr. Eisner is absolutely correct I think the developments of the recent years are at least partially to blame on him. Yes, he did voice his concerns about Mr. Eisner and his policy destained to destroy the legacy and core qualities of TWDC and its products - and yes he did try to start a revolt on the board, but at no point he did try to rally fellow shareholders behind him.

    Even so TWDC has moved the AGM to the most difficult to reach locations in the last years to avoid individual shareholders speaking up to the incompetent team consisting of Mr. Eisner and his fellowers still quiet a few did travel to the AGMs anyway and did speak up.

    If Roy Disney really saw Mr. Eisner at the core of the current problems of TWDC, which without question he is, why did he not speak up at the AGMs and did not bring in a motion to replace Mr. Eisner or at least hamper his wrong policies??

    If announced or hinted at in advance I'm sure numerous individual shareholders (including myself) who would have been unable to actually join the AGM in person to support Roy Disney would have signed over their voting rights to a supporter of Roy Disney. Would this have giving him enough power to overthrow Mr. Eisner?

    I don't know but I'm sure that it might have been enough to get other, larger institutional shareholders to support Roy Disney, too. Maybe Roy Disney was just feeling a bit too old to get into repeated certainly nasty fights with Mr. Eisner to get rid of him. This could be understood as Roy Disney wasn't in the best conditions anymore as his visit to the opening of the dismal Walt Disney Studios Park at DLRP showed, when his bodyguards even went to length to stop professional news journalists from making close ups photos of Roy Disney when not placed on a stage with carefully placed lightning.

    With the share price rising again due to the inability of many institutional shareholders and analysts to realize that Mr. Eisner currently is propping up revenues on short term by inflicting further damage on the long term health of TWDC and its core values I fear Roy Disney departure and especially his letter will be seen by many non-Disney-fans as just expressing bad personal feelings due to his non-listing for re-election.

    In short words: in the immediate future I see Mr. Eisner continuing his policy and further inflict damage on TWDC. My only hope is that Roy Disney as a private person still holding the voting rights for his shares for the coming 4 1/2 years will use these voting rights and the stage that the coming AGMs do provide to continue to voice his concerns about Mr. Eisner and his management. The question is: how substantiate can these concerns be in the future now that Roy Disney has been cut off the internal informations??

    Well, I do hope that Roy Disney in a last effort tries to use his remaining position as shareholder to try everything possible to unseat Mr. Eisner. If so I'm sure I as a shareholder and many fellow individual shareholders will do everything we can to support him.


    Yours
    Dirk
     
  6. Tink

    Tink Member

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    Jim Hill has an interesting reaction to the whole Roy vs. Eisner streetfight that seems to be brewing... I recomend checking it out at his sight- "http://www.jimhillmedia.com/"

    I do wonder, however, why Roy chose the timing of his announcement on a Sunday night. I'd think that Monday morning would have been far more effective, as it would have given Eisner no time to go on the defensive before the news that a Disney family member was leaving the Disney company adversly effected stock prices. And since we all know that stock prices are the only thing Eisner seems to care about as of late, he would have had a far worse time of it...

    Tink
     
  7. SFMike

    SFMike Member

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    I'm just glad someone finally has been able to read Eisner's beads in public (off the message boards) even if it probably won't change anything internally. Eisner's deconstruction of the Disney heritage of quality had ruined my support of the company after a lifetime of fandom in the last few years. Yes I'm bitter. :mad: At least we have our memories and classic Disney music to remind us of better days. (Put my little ranting to the tune "One Little Spark." You remember before the attraction was Eisnerized...I mean updated with half of it turned into a giftshop)

    Thanks Roy for going public!

    I would be mad too if my family name was on "California Adventure."
     
  8. David S.

    David S. Member

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    Wow, what an incredible slam-dunk of a letter! Like many of you have said, I was also thinking how this echoes so MANY of the concerns fans have been expressing, particularly about Eisner being CHEAP in the theme parks, the cheapening of the Disney "brand", and the erosion of Disney tradition and heritage as a result of these actions.

    I am glad to see Roy speak up; but sad to see him have to leave the company while doing so.

    You know, like Roy said, I too feel Michael did a good job while Frank Wells was around. The parks were doing well, and animation was experiencing an INCREDIBLE renaissance.

    When I first discovered the internet (and this site) in around 1997, I had no idea that problems were going on at Disney such as the ones Roy mentioned, until I began reading various fan sites. Many people had issues with Eisner; mine was that he was closing SO MANY of the classic attractions instead of building new rides from scratch. While I understand that sometimes attractions will be closed, this was just TOO MUCH TOO FAST, and seemed like an assault on the very heritage and core of the company that deserved to survive for future generations.

    At times while reading the various debates all those years ago, trying to be open minded I sometimes wondered if I was being a little too hard on Eisner.

    But what Roy has just done is to give a VERY LOUD vote of NO CONFIDENCE in Eisner while simultaneously also giving tremendous credibility to the concerns that have been passionately voiced by fans over the last several years. How can Eisner appologists call the fans clamoring for change "overly emotional crackpots" when Roy himself has just basically said the EXACT same things?!

    I applaud Roy for speaking out, and hope that this will lead to very positive change in the near future.

    David

    PS - I hope his leaving isn't a bad sign for the thread Feature Animation seems to be hanging by; I remember reading it was Roy who convinced Eisner to save it the first time Eisner wanted to shut down animation way back in the mid 80's. (yes, if Eisner had had his way back then, there would have been NO Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, etc.)
     
  9. David S.

    David S. Member

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    Stanley Gold also resigns

    Stanley Gold has also resigned from the board and has issued a letter to the board which has also been made public. This letter seconds Roy's call for Eisner's resignation and echoes Roy's criticisms of Eisner. It is also VERY critical of the board itself as being more a tool used by Eisner to protect his power than being concerned with the long term good of the company itself.

    Since Roy continues to be a major shareholder of the company, as Gold's letter states they can do more good towards affecting change outside than from within. The letter explains that restrictions preventing board members from comunicating with other shareholders and the media no longer can hamper them since they are no longer on the board! :

    "Perhaps acting independently, from outside the Boardroom, not hamstrung by a recently enacted Board policy barring Board members from communicating with shareholders and the media, I can have greater success in shaping the policies, practices and operations of Disney than I had as a member of the Board. "

    This looks like it could shape up to be quite a public battle for the heart and soul of the company, just as what happened in the 1980's.

    According to some posts I found at http:www.laughingplace.com, Roy Disney and Stanley Gold are scheduled to appear on CNBC today at 5 PM Eastern Standard Time.

    The complete text of Gold's resignation letter can be found here:

    http://www.miceage.com/allutz/al120103a.htm


    David
     
  10. SharonKurland

    SharonKurland Active Member

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    Boy oh boy, what a day, huh?

    From the CNBC article it sounds like Roy and Stanley are going to take an active role from the outside, perhaps trying to change who is on the Board of Directors.

    I wonder how many people will go to the annual meeting this year. Anyone know what remote, weather-impaired location it'll be in this year? Alaska, perhaps?
     
  11. narkspud

    narkspud Member

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    And it KEEPS GETTING BETTER! The Slessingers just announced who their new lawyer in the Pooh case is: Johnnie Cochran.
     
  12. JeffNOrangeCounty

    JeffNOrangeCounty Member

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    Now dont we all feel justified?

    Jeff says:

    Ditto Roy,

    You have quit before and saved the company in turn.
    May you have whatever pixie dust is left in your veins to pull it off again.

    (err.. just don't mess with Matt Ouimett .he's just getting started in Anahiem)

    Jeff in Orange County
     
  13. David S.

    David S. Member

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    Did anyone catch the CNBC feature? If not, I will attempt to summarize:

    First, there was a report of the story itself, followed by a bunch of bottom line, buisness types trying to spin it that Roy's comments would have no impact on Eisner's future with the company, citing an improvement in the stock this quarter and an improvement in the theme park industry after the 9/11 downturn.

    I thought to myself that these buisness types just don't get it; they are so obsessed with short term profits that they lack vision and miss the important thing which is what will happen to Disney in the LONG TERM. I felt so proud at that moment to have majored in Liberal Arts rather than buisness! ;)

    Then, the anchor said that some of Roy's concerns might be explained away by a "stock price", but the concerns about Eisner's "micromanagement style, lowering morale", "brain drain exudus of creative talent" and creating the perception that Disney was "soulless" and eager to due things "on the cheap" to "make a quick buck" could NOT easily be explained away by a stock price!

    This was followed by the interview with Mr. Roy E. Disney and Mr. Stanley Gold.

    Roy was asked what he hoped would happen with the company in the near future. He said he hoped Eisner would be replaced by new leadership, younger, more energetic, CREATIVE leadership! He said there was so much creative potential the company has yet to realize and hasn't realized during the last 7 years.

    The anchor asked him how he would respond to the fact the the stock price 20 years ago has increased exponentially since then. (yet again playing out the theme "how dare you question Eisner since he "saved" the company nearly 20 years ago")

    Roy responded that it hasn't increased in the last 7 years, but has become stagnant. He said he has had disagreements with Eisner for a long time but they have been private and behind closed doors. He said it became obvious that he couldn't get any changes made from the inside because "the board was all in the other camp".

    Gold pointed out that now that they were off the board, and there were no restrictions on what they could say, they could take their case against Eisner to other shareholders and to the public through the media.

    Roy was asked about whether the Pixar deal would get renewed and said he was scheduled for a meeting with John Lassiter a few weeks ago but that Eisner "not politely" ordered him to not attend that meeting because he didn't want "Disney executives mingling with Pixar executives"

    Gold commented that the company was losing money on the ABC Family Channel deal and yet instead of holding Eisner accountable, the board gave him a bonus instead, citing this as an example of how the Disney board operates.

    Then they were asked about the timing of their criticism of Eisner since Disney's stock is currently rising.

    Gold then gave my favorite quote in the whole interview. He said that the company had been cutting cost and even cutting maintenance which may improve the SHORT TERM profits, but that this strategy COULD NOT sustain the company over the LONG TERM. He said "The Disney family is not concerned with quarterly or even yearly results, as much as where the company will be in 5 or 10 years"!

    And that's what I think their whole point is - that Eisner is completely lacking in long term creative energy or vision.

    The interview concluded with Gold answering whether the two men would actively pursue ousting Eisner, and he said they would be beginning the process of educating the public and shareholders about the TRUTH of how the Disney board and current management operates, and how they are hampering the company from achieving their financial and creative potential. He said "that's a pretty direct answer."

    Incredible stuff!

    David
     
  14. SharonKurland

    SharonKurland Active Member

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    Jeff-

    I agree...Ouimet & Co. should be left alone. it looks like they have the ability to do their own magic in Anaheim, Eisner notwithstanding...though if they were given more money, I bet they could do even more.....

    BTW...sent you an e-mail and a Snail Mail package on Friday the 28th so keep your eyes peels.

    -Sharon-
     
  15. adimike

    adimike Member

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    Hi, everybody.

    Here is the sad part. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, this has not really had any effect yet, including the stock price They point out that Disney has had improving financials recently [guess you can thank Nemo and Pirates for some of that], and that makes it a tough sell to the rest of the stock holders.

    As much as I emphasize with Roy's letter, it is Stanley Gold's that really hits home for me. He spelled everything out, and probably became a surrogate speaker for all of the Disney fans out there. Expecially fascinating is his talk of the Board Of Directors manipulations to x-out opposition.

    Sadly, this shows that in the current state, memories and the Disney legacy is about all we have left. Disney is a business, and at least in the board room, and to shareholders, things look hunky dory.

    It would be nice if the general public started to make its voices known. It goes beyond our frustrations with what is or isn't released on CD, how they have turned truly exciting Disney Stores into glorified gift shops, how they seem to be running from the past at the theme parks instead of celebrating it and understanding that it can updated without being gutted.

    No, it goes directly to the legacy of Disney, and the trust in Walt's vision and how it has been executed and expanded uopn until recently. Disney is not a trademark, it is a feeling, andemotion, a memory, an anticipation, and a hope.

    At least until recently.

    Adrian

    BTW, thank God there are still people at Disney like Randy Thorton, who know how important, treasured and trusted Disney efforts have been. Thanks, Randy.
     
  16. Michael Zielski

    Michael Zielski Member

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    Wow, talk about bittersweet! A BITTER, "official" departure for Roy Disney and Stanley Gold(wonderful letters, full of echoes from this forum!), but now a possible SWEET alliance between the two......best of luck to this seemingly crusading dynamic duo, as it sounds they may begin waging guerilla warfare against a dark lord, who seems entrenched as ever.......

    Yep, as Adrian wrote, despite all this seemingly great news, this guy must be wielding "The One Ring"--my wife was on laughingplace today, and linked up to a few news sources that claimed despite recent blows, Eisner is still as strong as ever--PLEASE SAY IT AIN'T SO!!?!?!??

    Mike
     
  17. JeffNOrangeCounty

    JeffNOrangeCounty Member

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    Are there 9 Black riders .. er I mean ,..Board members left?

    The elves are fleeing these shores and the world of Men is upon us, for rule and ruin!

    ---- But seriously---------

    Who would you have replace Eisner?

    Local NPR today spoke with 2 business consultants who were bemoaning the "brain drain" of Paul Pressler (egads!). Our view as Disney enthusists is quite different however.
    Who would know business and yet have enough creativity? Maybe a dual CEO and President deal like Frank Wells had? What team would take the job?
    Is Lucas busy? (grin)
    Lassiter and..?
    Jeff
     
  18. David S.

    David S. Member

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    Support Roy!!!!!

    A number of animators have started a petition drive to show support for Roy and Stanley and their attempt to revitalize the company by ousting Eisner. They say the petition has been expanded from just an animators' petition to include ANYONE - fan, shareholder, etc. who wishes to sign it, due to OVERWHELMING support. Here is the link:

    http://www.pruiksma.com/letterofsupport.html

    The awesome thing is, I did NOT find this link on a fan site, but in the mainstream media at:

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr/artic...tent_id=2043882

    The same mainstream media and stock analysists that originally seemed to raise a "collective yawn" over this story are now noticing the fans and begining to ask questions about Eisner's competance. Indeed, the stock price has reportedly gone down.

    Also, today's story on jimhillmedia.com also gives me cautious optimism that the winds of change truly could be brewing.

    David

    PS. Even if Eisner has the One Ring, Roy has the Shield Of Virtue and the Sword Of Truth, and even Maleficent could not escape that! ;)
     
  19. Michael Zielski

    Michael Zielski Member

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    .....so then all they have to do is elude the Black Riders of the Board Jeff referred to, venture into the realm of the Dark Lord, grab the Ring, and cast it into the fiery depths of Mt. Michael........I'd definitely bring the shields along......and maybe even some cheerleaders--I'm signing, thank you for the link, David!

    Mike
     
  20. Tink

    Tink Member

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    As the story gets more and more crazy...

    (And Bill- be proud of your geekiness! I know I am!) ;)

    Tink
     

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