Disney Explains His Decision

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, December 1, 2003, that was edited for clarity.

Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.

BRENDA BUTTNER, GUEST HOST: Joining us on the phone right now is Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, two of the board members of the Walt Disney Company who resigned in hopes that the CEO of the Disney Company will also resign. We welcome both of them.

Mr. Disney, are you there?


BUTTNER: Well, thanks so much for joining us, sir. Why are you leaving?

DISNEY: Well, if you saw my letter of resignation, for a lot of reasons, having to do with the company’s underperformance and management.

BUTTNER: Management, meaning Mr. Eisner?

DISNEY: Meaning Mr. Eisner and the board of directors that seems quite entrenched to be behind him.

BUTTNER: Mr. Gold, same reasons?

STANLEY GOLD, EX-DISNEY BOARD MEMBER: Yes. I would add that we’ve spent two years trying to work within the boardroom to effectuate change, and we’ve basically come up against a brick wall. And I think that we can be more effective by talking to people on the outside.

Disney had passed a resolution that prevented board members from either talking with shareholders or the press, or anybody else for that matter, while you remained a board member. And so, it seemed to us that if we’re going to get our message over, we needed to be off the board.

BUTTNER: Mr. Disney, it’s a pretty cozy relationship right now on the board with Mr. Eisner. Basically, he’s got a lot of people who like him there.

DISNEY: Well, he’s certainly got a lot of people who will vote for him no matter what. Cozy is probably the right word, yes.

BUTTNER: Didn’t he do a lot for Disney? I mean, he basically...

DISNEY: The first 10 years that he was with the company, beginning in 1984 when he was in partnership with Frank Wells, we had a marvelous, wonderful 10 years. The last seven years have been pretty not so good.

BUTTNER: But, gentlemen, even in the last year things have started to come back. I mean, the stock price is up, what, some 35 percent this year? You know, the theme parks are starting to come back. ABC is undoubtedly a problem. But, things are starting to come back, aren’t they?

GOLD: Well, if you measure it from quarter to quarter or from year to year, I think our real interest in this company is 5 and 10-year horizons. And if you measure any kind of matrix for the last five or, as Roy said, the last seven years, the results are dismal. They’re not back even to the ‘95-’96 levels, even though they’ve probably pumped another $5 billion into the company.

So, performance is down. Yes, there are some bright spots. Film entertainment did very well this last year, and Dick Cook who runs that ought to be rewarded. But by and large, they are suffering on a lot of fronts and are flailing around for solutions.

BUTTNER: Gentlemen, I only have about 45 seconds with you. I wish I had much more. But what can you possibly do on the outside? Isn’t it better to be on the inside working?

DISNEY: Well, as Stanley says, we tried that. We’ve been on the inside for a long time now, and we realize that we didn’t have the leverage with the board members. So, we think that coming outside the company and being able to talk more freely to people like you, to really give other points of view on the company and how it’s performing, is going to give us a better shot at getting the company changed around.

BUTTNER: Right. OK, gentlemen thank you so much for joining us.

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