James B. Stewart
"When You Wish Upon a Star," "Whistle While You Work," "The Happiest Place on Earth"—these are lyrics indelibly linked to Disney, one of the most admired and best-known companies in the world. So when Roy Disney, chairman of Walt Disney Animation and nephew of founder Walt Disney, abruptly resigned in November 2003 and declared war on chairman and chief executive Michael Eisner, he sent shock waves through the entertainment industry, corporate boardrooms, theme parks, and living rooms around the world—everywhere Disney does business and its products are cherished.
DisneyWar is the breathtaking, dramatic inside story of what drove America’s best-known entertainment company to civil war, told by one of our most acclaimed writers and reporters.
Drawing on unprecedented access to both Eisner and Roy Disney, current and former Disney executives and board members, as well as thousands of pages of never-before-seen letters, memos, transcripts, and other documents, James B. Stewart gets to the bottom of mysteries that have enveloped Disney for years: What really caused the rupture with studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, a man who once regarded Eisner as a father but who became his fiercest rival? How could Eisner have so misjudged Michael Ovitz, a man who was not only "the most powerful man in Hollywood" but also his friend, whom he appointed as Disney president and immediately wanted to fire? What caused the break between Eisner and Pixar chairman Steve Jobs, and why did Pixar abruptly abandon its partnership with Disney? Why did Eisner so mistrust Roy Disney that he assigned Disney company executives to spy on him? How did Eisner control the Disney board for so long, and what really happened in the fateful board meeting in September 2004, when Eisner played his last cards?
Here, too, is the creative process that lies at the heart of Disney—from the making of The Lion King to Pirates of the Caribbean. Even as the executive suite has been engulfed in turmoil, Disney has worked—and sometimes clashed—with a glittering array of stars, directors, designers, artists, and producers, many of whom tell their stories here for the first time.
Stewart describes how Eisner lost his chairmanship and why he felt obliged to resign as CEO, effective 2006. No other book so thoroughly penetrates the secretive world of the corporate boardroom. DisneyWar is an enthralling tale of one of America’s most powerful media and entertainment companies, the people who control it, and those trying to overthrow them.
DisneyWar is an epic achievement. It tells a story that—in its sudden twists, vivid, larger-than-life characters, and thrilling climax—might itself have been the subject of a Disney animated classic—except that it’s all true.
call back. When he got into the office, Eisner called Bob Iger. “I want to talk about your staying on,” Eisner said. Iger said he wasn’t sure he was at liberty to negotiate before a deal was reached, considering he was president and chief operating officer as well as on the board. Negotiating for a high-level position in the new company might pose a conflict of interest. “Ethically, I’m not sure what my position should be.” Nor was Iger sure that he wanted to work in the new company. Given his
Roy voting against it. (Robert Stern, Eisner’s architect, was also deemed nonindependent.) Ten minutes later, a typed list of committee assignments was circulated. Bryson was now chairman of the governance committee, and Van de Kamp was dropped. Eisner didn’t stop there. That same month, he called on Reveta Bowers at her office at the Center for Early Education to explain that it would be improper for any Disney employee to contribute to the Center if she remained on the board. Two of Disney’s
Nogaki, Gene Stone, and Neil Westreich. This book is dedicated to Benjamin Weil, who bore the brunt of my absences, distractions, and complaints. I’m not sure I can repay him, but I intend to try. Index ABC Bloomberg at Bornstein as president of Disney’s acquisition of DreamWorks and Eisner at Fox Family acquisition and, see also ABC Family Harbert replaced at Internet site of L.A. move of Letterman courted by,management shake-up at, 10 “Millionaire”and radio business of
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Angeles, refusing to continue negotiations. Litvack’s dramatic gesture broke the logjam. Negotiations soon resumed, and Litvack arrived at an agreement that essentially divided the burden of reducing the debt by $1 billion among Disney and the lenders. Among other provisions, it gave Euro Disney a reprieve by suspending interest payments for sixteen months and deferring principal payments for three years. “Close the deal as best you can,” Wells told Litvack. Soon after, an anxious Philippe