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March 7

March 7, 1942 – Former CEO of The Walt Disney Company Michael Eisner is Born

Michael Eisner

“Success is not a formula, but is based on everything else – the creativity, the right people, the right team.”

On March 7, 1942, Michael Dammann Eisner was born in Mount Kisco, New York. Growing up on Park Avenue, Eisner attended the Allen-Stevenson School through ninth grade, followed by the Lawrenceville School through 12th grade. He graduated from Denison University in 1964 with a B.A. in English. After graduation, Eisner briefly worked for NBC and CBS before being brought on at ABC as Assistant to the National Programming Director. He quickly rose through the company, becoming the Senior Vice President for Programming and Development. Barry Diller, who had hired Eisner at ABC, brought Eisner with him to Paramount Pictures and made him President and CEO. Under his leadership, Paramount had a string of successful films, beginning with Saturday Night Fever and including Raiders of the Lost Ark and Grease. After being passed over for the top position when Diller stepped down, Eisner went looking for other opportunities. At this time, Disney was going through some troubles with hostile takeovers, and Roy E. Disney decided to bring Eisner and Frank Wells in as CEO and President, respectfully. Under their tenure, Disney managed to go through a Renaissance period, beginning with the success of The Little Mermaid, along with the acquisition of ABC and ESPN. Eisner continued to grow the Disney Parks stateside, and contributed to the building of what is now known as Disneyland Paris. After Wells’ sudden death in a helicopter crash, Eisner shook up the posts at the studio, with Katzenberg resigning and being replaced with Michael Ovitz. Tension grew between Roy E. Disney and Eisner, and in 2005, Eisner stepped down from his role as CEO and board member, leaving Disney completely. After Disney, Eisner formed The Tornante Company, which acquires and invests in media and entertainment companies.

 

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