Former Walt Disney Co. chairman Roy E. Disney and his Shamrock Holdings partner Stanley P. Gold today spoke out against yesterday’s news that Disney’s Board of Directors was standing behind company CEO Michael Esiner. The duo say the decision reflects "complete indifference to the will and interests of its shareholders."
“The Board this week has demonstrated that this is truly a do-nothing Eisner Board,” say Disney and Gold. “It continues to march blindly and loyally behind Mr. Eisner, ignoring a staggering 45% no-confidence vote against Mr. Eisner by the shareholders at the company’s annual meeting and a 72% no-confidence vote from the company’s 401k Plan participants.”
Tuesday’s conclusion of the Board’s annual two-day retreat didn’t yield the results Disney and Gold had hoped for when they learned that succession would be a central focus of the meeting. "It appears that the only succession plan is to keep Mr. Eisner as CEO for as long as he wants,” Disney and Gold comment. “Merely reviewing and supporting the existing in-house executive team is too little and too late. The real solution to the company’s leadership problems must be sought elsewhere.”
Disney and Gold say they are not surprised by the Board’s actions or lack thereof nor Comcast’s decision to stop pursuing a merger of the two companies. They assert that the Board and its "lame duck" CEO are "oblivious to the [company’s] serious decline in long-term performance." The two site chaos at ABC Television Network, the poor performance of cable channel ABC Family, the loss of Pixar, sagging employee morale and recent box office disappointments as proof of Eisner’s incompetence and accuse the board of lobbying to protect his job despite performance issues.