LOS ANGELES: Roy Disney and Stanley Gold - the two directors who resigned from Disney's board last week while vocally expressing their desire for the resignation of longtime CEO Michael Eisner - have been working with their longtime PR counsel Michael Sitrick, CEO of Sitrick & Associates.
While Sitrick hinted that the duo was set on continuing its campaign to oust Eisner, the crisis specialist was keen to temper short-term expectations.
"We're going to be working with them to get the message out," said Sitrick. "This is not going to be an overnight situation." Sitrick declined to elaborate on specific plans, but both Disney and Gold have made numerous media appearances since leaving.
The company has been circumspect in its response, issuing only limited statements attributed to the board that were critical of Disney and Gold's actions, but no comments from Eisner himself. Company sources said their strategy is "not to get down and engage tit for tat in the recriminations," but to take the "high road and stick to pointing out how well the company has been performing." VP of corporate communications John Spelich would only say that "at this point the board statements speak for themselves."
The controversy erupted onto the front pages of the business news last week when Roy Disney, nephew of company founder Walt Disney, released a resignation letter that was a stinging rebuke of Eisner's leadership. The letter criticized various aspects of the CEO's recent tenure and the direction in which Eisner was taking the media conglomerate.
Although Disney was instrumental in recruiting Eisner in 1984, his letter complained that the CEO was no longer the right person to lead the company. He said Eisner had become a micro-manager, and that shareholders had suffered because he had built several new theme parks "on the cheap."