Eisner pushes up Disney exit on the heels of PR effort

LOS ANGELES: The Walt Disney Co.'s announcement last week that CEO Michael Eisner would be replaced by next June came after a protracted anti-Eisner publicity campaign waged by former Disney board members Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, and facilitated by city PR star Michael Sitrick.

LOS ANGELES: The Walt Disney Co.'s announcement last week that CEO Michael Eisner would be replaced by next June came after a protracted anti-Eisner publicity campaign waged by former Disney board members Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, and facilitated by city PR star Michael Sitrick.

Roy Disney and Gold, along with their investment company, Shamrock Holdings, have pursued a well-publicized "Save Disney" crusade for nearly a year, anchored by a slick website, savedisney.com.

In an interview, Sitrick, chairman and CEO of Sitrick & Co., said that he had helped Roy Disney and Gold, clients since 1989, communicate their concerns about the future of the company's leadership.

"It was clear that their sentiments were the same sentiments as the shareholders," Sitrick said.

That confluence of sentiments led to a 45% "no confidence" vote for Eisner at last March's annual meeting, and a standing ovation for Roy Disney. Sitrick said a communications program involving a company as iconic as Disney had a range of target audiences, including "shareholders, employees, the American public as a whole."

Disney did not return repeated calls about its corporate communication strategy.

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