December 27, 1996 – Michael Ovitz Leaves The Walt Disney Company
“You played the angles too much, exaggerated the truth too far, manipulated me and others too much.” – Michael Eisner, in a November 1996 letter
On December 27, 1996, Michael Ovitz stepped down as the President of the Walt Disney Company. He joined the company in 1995, acting as president under Michael Eisner. The year that Ovitz served as president was considered turbulent at best, and was swiftly let go by Eisner. There were further complications afterwards, as Ovitz was awarded a hefty severance package of $130 million. Disney shareholders eventually sued Ovitz and Eisner for this package; although the court upheld the payment, the court case, and the decisions that led to it, hurt Eisner’s position within the company.