Despite recent criticism of his leadership, Walt Disney Company chairman/ceo Michael Eisner is in an upbeat mood as the company enters a new fiscal year, forecasting “strong, double-digit” growth in earnings per share over the next twelve months.

Speaking at an investment conference sponsored by Goldman Sachs, Eisner admitted that “Our recent performance has been unacceptable…[but] I do believe the market has overreacted on the downside.”

While avoiding such trivia as actual figures, or even an indication of where growth will come from, Eisner expressed confidence that the heavy investments that have hurt the company’s bottom line in recent years would pay off over the next half-decade.

The Disney boss also unveiled changes to the management structure at its ABC broadcast network and its cable-TV properties.

“Each one of our day parts at the ABC network will be run horizontally with the same business in cable,” he continued. Which in plain English means the management of broadcast and cable channels will be merged so that each genre of programming will each have its own dedicated team operating across all stations.

Eisner also revealed he is willing to sell ABC’s radio assets, plus he made reference to the renewed merger talks between ABC News and CNN [WAMN: 26-Sep-02]. He is a firm supporter of such a combination, though he believes the odds of it taking place are “50-50 at best.”

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff