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Under-Siege Eisner Pulls Disney Board’s Strings

What happened at Disney yesterday demonstrates everything that’s wrong with Corporate America. Let’s bottom-line it: The board delivered a giant fuck-you to small shareholders and large institutional investors, immediately after that astounding 43 percent no-confidence-in-Michael-Eisner vote, when it made his No. 1 stooge, ex–U.S. Senator George Mitchell, his new boss. The only reason to separate the chairman and CEO jobs is to bring a breath of fresh air into a besieged company. By conniving to settle on Mitchell, who already was a director and therefore culpable for all its bad decisions, who has few corporate bona fides, and who himself received a 24 percent slap in the face from shareholders, the board brazenly chose to keep doing its business in a polluted atmosphere. This doesn’t settle the current crisis; it only steps up the anti-Eisner outcry, since it’s clear that, even stripped of the chairman title, he’s still pulling the strings of his puppet directors. The time is now to clean up the Disney board’s dirty way of doing business. This means Comcast, or the "Save Disney" campaign by Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, or those fed-up institutional investors with balls and brains, or all of the above, need to push, and push, and push, until they end Eisner’s jackbooted stranglehold on the company. Meanwhile, there was more bad news coming out of Dopey Drive, where ABC finished this sweeps period well behind CBS, NBC and even Fox, and with even more dismal demographics than usual. (For background, see "Disney Goes to the Dark Side", February 27 – March 4.)

[Full disclosure: I am in a legal dispute with Disney over the news media’s right to truthfully report on the entertainment giant’s business activities.]

E-mail at deadlinehollywood@gmail.com.

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