While Bob Iger’s appointment as CEO of the Walt Disney Co. was not surprising, neither was the reaction from Mouse House dissident Roy E. Disney. Walt Disney’s nephew and his Shamrock Holdings business partner, Stanley P. Gold, today issued a statement in which they take partial credit for Eisner’s resignation but express grave disappointment in the Board’s choice of a replacement.
“We find it incomprehensible that the Board of Directors of Disney failed to find a single external candidate interested in the job and thus handed Bob Iger the job by default," Disney and Gold comment. "We find it very telling that [Disney Co. Board chairman George Mitchell] refused to answer repeated questions about whether the entire Board had interviewed more than one external candidate. The Board has failed in what is clearly one of their most important responsibilities, the selection of the Company’s CEO."
Gold and Disney go on to say that the Walt Disney Co. needs to make "a clean break from the prior regime," and suggest that the appointment of someone who has worked so closely with Esiner for a number of years can only serve to maintain the status quo. They also accuse the Board of using a bait-and-switch tactic when it promised a "bona fide" search at the 2005 annual meeting. "Mr. Mitchell’s approach to good governance is no better than a carny at the fair, enticing words but in the end the game is rigged," say Disney and Gold. "Shareholders have been conned and their trust in this Board abused." The statement concludes with a plea for shareholders to consider replacing the Board entirely.