Eisner Gets Disney Board Support

Embattled Disney CEO Michael Esiner remains leader of the band following Tuesday’s conclusion of the Walt Disney Co. Board of Directors’ annual retreat. Board members decided to stand behind its top tier executives after performance and growth potential evaluations and a strategic review of each of the company’s major business units.

The Board released an official statement saying, "As a result of the thorough review of Disney’s long-term growth plan, the Board is confident that the management team is executing against its strategic plan in order to continue to drive long-term shareholder value. The Board continues to have complete confidence in Michael Eisner, Bob Iger and the senior management team and in their strategic growth plan to continue to strengthen the company’s position as the global leader in quality family entertainment."

On March 4, the Disney Board of Directors voted to separate the positions of CEO and chairman, thus stripping Eisner of the latter title and electing former Sen. George Mitchell to serve as chairman. The move was made after 43% of company shareholders gave Eisner a "no confidence" vote at the March 3 annual meeting in Philadelphia.

The division of responsibilities between Eisner and Mitchell has now been formalized. In his new role, Mitchell will, among other things, head the Board’s annual performance review of the CEO and lead in developing, adopting and periodically reviewing its succession plan for the top job.

Mitchell states, “I will work diligently in fulfilling these responsibilities which are designed to facilitate and coordinate the work of the Board in the discharge of its oversight responsibility of management and the company. As CEO and with the full support of the Board, Michael Eisner continues to have the same authority to manage the operations of the company as he has previously held.”

The Board has also supported Eisner in his resistance to a hostile takeover bid from cable conglom Comcast. It was announced today that Comcast has withdrawn its offer due to a lack of interest from Disney.