Monday, March 14, 2005

On Disney's Growth and Control

This LA Times article offers analysis on Michael Eisner’s departure from Disney and suggests that the appointment of Eisner’s protégé, Robert Iger, indicates the significant degree of clout an embattled and embittered Eisner still wields within Disney. It also suggests that Eisner’s legacy will continue at Disney, since Iger seems unlikely to create much change within the company. James Bates writes:
The board’s decision [to select Iger] revealed Eisner’s genius for managing and protecting his legacy at Disney, which under his watch grew from a $1.5 billion-a-year company to a $30 billion one. But then he’s well known for his attention to detail—including such minutiae as the color of the curtains in Disney’s hotel rooms, which he personally selected.
If Eisner had much to do with causing that significant growth, I’m not certain that his leadership can be fully encapsulated with the watch metaphor. This seems too passive, like Eisner was at the night watch, making sure that the Disney ship didn't run aground or hit an iceburg. Perhaps, if the nautical theme was necesaary, "at the helm” might work better, since it might connote more control and navigation than mere “watching."

Also, I don’t know if it follows that an “attention to detail” is necessarily or sufficiently relevant to Disney’s multi-billion-dollar-a-year metamorphosis. Of course, I do like that little tidbit about the curtains and it seems to be a characteristic of the entire Disney machine. Attention to detail was shockingly evident in a recent Food Network special where a couple had a Disney wedding for … $70,000! I beginning to see where much of that billion dollar success comes from. Why, if Disney gets any bigger, I’d be afraid that its next CEO will be picking out the colors of my house’s curtains!


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