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September 7

September 7, 1984 – Ron Miller Resigns as President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company

ron_miller

“All of this activity in the last six months is not purely attributable to Ron Miller. The directors had a voice in all of this.” – Harold Vogel, analyst with Merrill Lynch, Inc.

On September 7, 1984, after mounting pressure from the board of directors and a dismal series of events for the company, Ron W. Miller announced his resignation as President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, which was accepted unanimously. The final six months of Miller’s command were bleak at best, with Saul P. Steinberg threatening to takeover the company; the company faced criticism in paying $325 million to Steinberg to keep the company intact. The company also faced problems in terms of the fare that they released; Miller had the idea to release more provocative fare, which was met with mixed criticism within the company. While the creation of Touchstone Films would prove to be a boon for the company, the earlier releases with this new provocative, innovative lens were financially disastrous. It would be shortly after this that Michael Eisner and Frank Wells would be named as CEO and President, respectfully, and the company would start seeing a turnaround in its success.

March 13

March 13, 2005 – Robert A. Iger Named CEO of the Walt Disney Company

Bob Iger

“On behalf of the entire Board, I want to express how excited we are at the prospect of Bob [Iger] leading this extraordinary company and talented management team to new levels of financial and creative success in the years ahead.” – Sen. George J. Mitchell, Chairman of the Walt Disney Company Board of Directors

On March 13, 2005, the Walt Disney Company Board of Executives unanimously voted to elect Robert A. Iger as the new Chief Executive Office of the company. His tenure would become effective on September 30 of that year, after previous CEO Michael D. Eisner stepped down. The lengthy and highly detailed selection process began in late 2004; Iger previously served as the chairman of ABC Group, where he helped facilitate the merger between ABC and the Disney Company. Iger also served as the president of Walt Disney International, focusing on the Disney name in Europe, Asia-Pacific Region, and Latin America. He originally joined the company in 1996, when Disney acquired Capital Cities/ABC, where Iger was serving as President and COO.

February 25

February 25, 2005 – Disney Sells the Mighty Ducks Hockey Team

TMD

“We are confident that Henry and Susan Samueli will bring continued success to the Ducks and we will remain among the biggest fans of the team going forward.” – Michael Eisner

On February 25, 2005, Disney sold the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim hockey team to Broadcom Corporation co-founder Henry Samueli and his wife Susan. The team was originally founded by Disney in 1993, named after the hit 1992 film The Mighty Ducks, and Disney had tried to sell the team since 2002. In 2004, when the NHL’s labor dispute led to a lockout of the 2004-2005 season, Disney tried to sell again at well below the franchise’s original price. Samueli bought the team for $75 million, and promised to keep the Ducks in Orange County, California. The team would late be renamed the Anaheim Ducks.

January 9

January 9, 1916 – Former President of The Walt Disney Company and Disney Legend Card Walker is Born

Walker

“Card was instrumental in keeping Disney strong and growing in the critical years that followed the passing of founders Walt and Roy Disney.” – Bob Iger, President and CEO of Disney

On January 9, 1916, Esmond Cardon “Card” Walker was born in Rexburg, Ohio. In 1924, Walker his family moved to Los Angeles, and after graduating from UCLA, he began working for the Disney Studios in 1938 as a mailroom clerk. Walker quickly moved out of the mailroom and into the company, first starting in the camera department, then working in the production department. With the outbreak of World War II, Walker, like many at the studio, did his part in the war effort by enlisting with the Navy, working as a flight deck officer. After the war ended, he returned to the Studio to work in the story department; Walker used a new polling system called Audience Research Institute (ARI) to gauge audience reactions to possible Disney animated features. In 1956, Walker continued to climb the Disney ladder when he was named the Vice President of Advertising and Sales. Proving a valuable asset in this area, he was appointed to the Board of Directors in 1960. Walker’s success didn’t stop there: in 1965, he was named the Vice President of Marketing; in 1967, he was then named Executive Vice President of Operations; in 1968, he was then named the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. This was followed by his election to President of the Walt Disney Company in 1971, a position he held for five years. Under Walker’s leadership, he not only helped keep the company strong during the turbulent time after the deaths of Walt and Roy O. Disney, but helped cultivate and protect the Disney tradition as it expanded to parks around the globe and back home, such as with the creation of Tokyo Disneyland and the Disney Channel. In 1980, he became the Chairman of the Board. Walker retired soon after in 1983, but continued to act in a consultancy role until 1990. For his work with the company, he was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1993. He retired from the Board of Directors in 1999, after 61 years with the company, but was named an emeritus member. Walker passed away in 2005 in La Cañada Flintridge, California.

December 28

December 28, 2006 – Disney Announces $3.26 Billion Box Office Returns for the Year

WDS

“In every area and on every level, 2006 was an extraordinary year for The Walt Disney Studios.” – Chairman Richard Cook

On December 28, 2006, Disney announced its year end box office gross of $3.26 billion. The year had been a successful one in several areas for Disney, ranging from its box office receipts and records, DVD sales, the Pixar acquisition, hit Disney Channel shows and movies, and its Broadway productions, among other profitable areas. In this report, Disney also claimed the top two box office spots for the year, with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest which earned over $1.06 billion, and Pixar’s Cars which grossed $462 million. Disney also had the three best-selling DVDs: Pirates of the Caribbean; Cars; and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; these releases gave Buena Vista Home Entertainment an industry milestone.

November 30

November 30, 2003 – Roy E. Disney Resigns

Roy Disney

“It is with deep sadness and regret that I send you this letter of resignation from the Walt Disney Company, both as Chairman of the Feature Animation Division and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.”

On November 30, 2003, Roy E. Disney effectively announced his resignation from the Walt Disney Company in a letter addressed to then CEO Michael Eisner. Though Eisner’s early years with the company had been prosperous, it was after the passing of company president Frank Wells that tensions mounted between Eisner and Disney. In a three-page handwritten letter delivered to Eisner’s Manhattan residence, Disney laid out seven specific grievances he had with Eisner’s leadership, ranging from poor quality in the theme parks, to loss of company morale through micro-managing. Disney remained off the board until 2005, when Eisner stepped down and Bob Iger was named as the new CEO; Disney rejoined the board as a non-voting Director Emeritus and consultant.