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February 04, 2004

101 Damnations

First in a series.

The Walt Disney Company is suffering. Any walk through a theme park owned and operated by Disney would allow you to see that. Paint peeling, trash in the waters, ride operations falling apart (resulting in death). This is not the company that Walt and Roy O. Disney would have looked at and been proud of. In fact, the legacy they left for future generations is in jeopardy.

With Roy Disney now gone from the company, it looks like Eisner can stay on unless something drastic is done. Something like voting Eisner out...along with his board of directors. If you're a shareholder, consider this;

1) New businesses initiatives have failed more at The Walt Disney Company then at any other time in the company’s history. California Adventure, a monumental disappointment, is simply a cookie cutter theme park that could have been built by any company in the world.

2) Overcompensation is, at best, unethical. The Chair of the Compensation Committee for 2002-2003, Judith Estrin, allowed 2002 to be a grand year for the top five executives of the company; the group of five were paid $40 million, even though the stock declined by almost 20%. Over the past three years, these five were paid over $68 million, even though the share price had declined by approximately 50%.

3) Ethics are an afterthought. John Bryson replaced Stanley Gold as Chair of Better Governance. What is fascinating is that Mr. Bryson's wife earns over $1.5 million per year from Disney's cable channels. Where's the investigation on this?

4) Television strategy is weak at best. The latest ABC ratings attempt will be a return of Regis Philbin and a higher payout for "Who Wants to be a Millionaire". This will be for one week in February. Not a long-term vision at all. ABC continues to fall.

5) The Walt Disney Company was started based on animation. Now, with the loss of the relationship with Pixar, Eisner has turned the company in to nothing more then a massive company with no vision, sense of purpose, or quality.

6) EuroDisney continues to be a thorn in the side of the Disney company. The Q1 report was flat. And rumors are that Disney is now seeking assistance (read, “relief”) from a heavy debt load.

7) In light of lay-off’s, poor compensation and unbelievably low morale for it’s employees, Eisner is obviously comfortable with this in more ways then one (read on).

8) Michael Eisner’s total compensation for the eight years from 1996-2003 was $250 Million.

9) However, the shareholders (during this same time frame) made approximately 2% per year on their investment in The Walt Disney Company.

10) The magic of a visionary is lost. While Disney has two of the most recognizable brands in the world (Mickey and Walt), what they stood for is now lost on the Board of Directors and Michael Eisner. They have completely marginalized both Mickey and the name Walt Disney. Poorly done pop music? Disney. Boring TV? Disney. Lame cartoon? Mickey. Sliding morale? Disney.
All of these things would have been absolutely unacceptable to Walt. Par for the course for Eisner.

There are 101 more points to make about bad management and Enron-style greed. And, we’ll be covering those in future articles.

For further reading, visit SaveDisney.com.

Posted at 5:57 PM

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Comments

When it gets dirty on mainstreet and there's chipped paint on the rides, it follows that the movies, media and the music are not far to follow on the downward spiral. Its sad to hear this; as a princess myself for half a century, I remember the days of great movies, a spotless theme park and wonderful customer service from all Disney employees. I hope somehow, there will be a return to this again.

Posted by: A True Princess at Feb 5, 2004 9:50:04 AM

I agree....as a stockholder, going to WDW last summer was not the magic hoped for....

The action of Today (Feb 11, 2004) I hope is not the beginning of the end for Disney...but I hope it is the end of Disney as we have known it since 1998.

Posted by: ppackch1 at Feb 11, 2004 3:36:00 PM