Eisner Says He Won’t Seek Board Seat

Sep 20, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner will leave the company entirely when he retires in two years, and won’t seek a seat on the board, the embattled executive said in an interview with Fortune magazine.

“I have not asked the board to stay on the board or be chairman after the end of my contract,” Mr. Eisner is quoted as saying. “My assumption is that I would not continue on the board or as chairman.”

Mr. Eisner’s comments come after a growing number of investors raised concerns last week that while Mr. Eisner doesn’t want his CEO job any longer, he might try to retain his board seat.

While the executive said he would not seek a renewal of his CEO position, he did not mention his plans for his board seat at his Sept. 10 announcement of his retirement plans. Others have suggested that Mr. Eisner might also try to get the chairman’s slot when it is vacated by George Mitchell, who must retire when he turns 72, per board rules.

The issue of a post-Eisner Disney has returned to center stage following Mr. Eisner’s announcement. A number of shareholders, including some big-name institutional investors, have spent the past year pushing for Mr. Eisner to leave amid lackluster performance at the media giant. The unrest reached a crescendo in March after Mr. Eisner received a 45 percent no-confidence vote from shareholders.