the happy image the Walt Disney Company has always been portraying
to the general public, a tussle for power was once brewing
underneath. Who's the man behind this "epic" tale?
The answer is none other than Disney-ex CEO Michael Eisner.
Who would have known that DreamWorks SKG founder Jeffrey Katzenberg
was once eyeing the vacant CFO seat? The wildly successful
television series “Lost” and “Desperate
Housewives” were never in the radar of Eisner. Not even
the box-office hit “Pirates of the Caribbean”
was spared. Further bad decisions include giving up the chance
to finance the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the
hit series "Sopranos".
James Stewart has given readers a no-holds-barred account
of Eisner’s antics in controlling the House of Mouse.
His increasing feuds with various top executives and members
of the Disney Board, including Roy E Disney, the nephew of
the late Walt Disney and PIXAR. These are just some of the
highlights of the book. Comprising of personal interviews,
emails and court records, “Disney War” is a must
read if not, a compelling read of how a single CEO at the
top of the food chain can cause a once flourishing entertainment
empire to lose its glazing.
No doubt, credit must be given to Eisner for reviving Disney’s
theme parks and animation slate when he first started. But
isn't there a saying called "Quit while you are ahead".
And so, is Eisner a misunderstood genius or a boardroom egoistic
tyrant? The good thing about "Disney War" is the
fact that Stewart never take sides on the issues, he practically
leaves the judgement on your doorstep. It's your call.
A letter from Roy E Disney to then Disney CEO, Michael
"Michael, it is my sincere belief that it is you who
should be leaving and not me. Accordingly, I once again call
yor 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 stockholders. I don't know
if you and other directors can comprehend how painful it is
for me and the extended Disney family to arrive at this decision...
With sincere regret,
Roy E Disney"
might declare certain chapters as tedious and somehow repetitive.
But this is what makes Stewart’s account so absorbing
in the first place. The clash of the egos awaits you!
by Linus Tee