Walt Disney's Corporate Governance Crisis


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Case Details:

Case Code : CGOX002
Case Length : 8 Pages
Period : 2004
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Walt Disney
Industry : Entertainment
Countries : Global

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Introduction

In late 2003, Walt Disney, the world's leading entertainment company found itself in rough waters as a boardroom brawl erupted. Roy E. Disney Jr., the last director from the founding Disney family was asked to resign from his position by enforcing a rule that required all directors over the age of 72 to retire.

Roy E. had been highly critical of CEO Michael Eisner, who he felt was the main reason for Disney's poor performance in recent times. Roy E repeatedly called for Eisner's resignation. Roy E's. ally Stanley Gold also resigned from the board to protest against the ouster. As these events attracted wide publicity, Eisner's track record came for a critical examination.

The Corporate Library, a prestigious firm that rated boards and directors for institutional investors, had ranked Disney's board as one of the ten worst among 1,800 U.S. public companies. To complicate matters further, in February 2004, leading cable operator, Comcast, announced a bid for Disney. As Eisner's performance came under attack, the board decided to relieve him of his post as chairman. Eisner, however, remained the CEO.

About Walt Disney

The Walt Disney Company (Disney) was the second largest media conglomerate in the world, behind Time Warner. Disney owned the ABC television network, 10 broadcast TV stations, and more than 70 radio stations.

It also had stakes in several cable channels such as ESPN (80%) and A&E Television Networks (38%). Walt Disney Studios produced films through Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, and Miramax. Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, which included Walt Disney World and Disneyland, were the most popular theme parks in North America...

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