Truce at last. A bitter two-year battle between two “disenfranchised” former directors and the Walt Disney Company has ended. As part of the agreement that has been thrashed out, the late Walt Disney’s nephew Roy Disney and Stanley P Gold have agreed to dismiss all their pending lawsuits against the Little Big Mouse.
A joint announcement made yesterday says that Disney and Gold have agreed not to run a rival slate of directors or submit shareholder resolutions for the next five years. In return, Roy Disney has been made director emeritus and a consultant of the company.
The brief announcement also affirmed the company’s “commitment to the rotation of committee members and chairpersons on its Board committees as currently required by the company’s corporate governance guidelines.”
The key mover in getting this long-festering sore in Disney’s side sorted out was CEO-elect Bob Iger (he replaces Michael Eisner on 1 October, one year before Eisner’s contract expires). The agreement was reportedly reached after a number of meetings between Iger and the long-time two Eisner-baiters.
Roy Disney’s problems with the workings at the company his uncle founded date as far back as 1977 which was when he resigned as an executive due to disagreements with his colleagues’ decisions at the time.
When the board of directors rejected Disney’s request for an extension of his term as board member, he announced his resignation on 30 November, 2003, citing “serious differences of opinion about the direction and style of management” in the company. He then issued a letter accusing Eisner of mismanaging the company, neglecting the studio’s animation division, failures with ABC, timidity in the theme park business, instilling a corporate mentality in the executive structure, turning the Walt Disney Company into a “rapacious, soul-less” company, and of refusing to establish a clear succession plan.