Disney Appoints New Ceo

14 March 2005

The Walt Disney Company in the US has named a successor to controversial ceo Michael Eisner.

After months of infighting, the mouse house has appointed Disney president and chief operating officer Robert Iger to the role. Eisner will hand over the reins in September, a year before he was due to leave.

Iger (54) is Eisner's preferred choice and has worked with him as second-in-command since 2000. He has extensive experience of the media group's TV, cable and international operations. Recent successes for this part of Disney's empire include the TV drama Desperate Housewives.

He does not, however, have any experience of Disney's film business or theme parks.

Iger has already drawn fire from rebel shareholders and dissident ex-directors Roy Disney and Stanley Gold. They have called his appointment a sham, and last week wrote an open letter to the Disney board condemning the selection process.

The other main contender for the job, was on line auctioneer ebay's ceo Meg Whitman, who was interviewed last week. She withdrew her candidacy, reportedly, because she felt the board was dragging its feet.

Disney has denied accusations that it failed to give external candidates serious consideration.

Eisner will remain on the Disney board until early next year but says he will not seek re-election or the chairmanship following Geroge Mitchell's planned exit.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff