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  • Bob Iger talks to CNN -

    Transcript of this interview can be found at:

    SHANGHAI, China (CNN) -- It was one of the toughest jobs in corporate America: Restoring the corporate image of The Walt Disney Company.
    The House of Mouse was in the headlines more for its boardroom battles than its bottom line. Last year, after 21 years at the helm, the charismatic Michael Eisner, was forced out by angry shareholders.
    And coming into the hot-seat as CEO was his long-time deputy Robert (Bob) Iger. Disney is now back on track, with its major problems in the past. CNN's Andrew Stevens began by asking Iger his strategy for restoring Disney's corporate image to its former glory.
    Iger: Well, I had great training. I had worked at Disney since they bought the company that I had worked for, ABC in the mid-90s. I also had the benefit of working for Michael Eisner, who taught me a tremendous amount about the company -- about both its past and present and what the potential of the company could be. And so at the time that I got the job, I was pretty focused on what I wanted to accomplish and when. So one thing that was very important was putting some of the skirmishes that we had been embroiled in behind us. I did not feel that it was healthy for the company to have that distraction, nor was it healthy for me. Focusing the company on what really would drive the most value going forward
    Stevens: Obviously easier said than done, I mean did it go according to plan?
    Iger: Well, I actually feel that looking back on what has been a pretty interesting number of months in this job, that as a team we accomplished more than I had expected to in this period of time. Now that doesn't mean that it is time to become complacent or to rest on our laurels because there is always a lot more that needs to be done but I would say slightly ahead of plan.
    Stevens: When you were pulling the Disney house back into shape you obviously had to deal with some pretty big egos, Michael Eisner and Steve Jobs. How did you manage those sorts of personalities? Is it compromise and consensus?
    Iger: Well for me it is never about egos. It is about dealing with people in a very open, straightforward fashion. I think it is incredibly important to be open and accessible and treat people fairly and look them in the eye and tell them what is on your mind.
    Stevens: Michael Eisner was at Disney for 21 years, you were his number two for five years, how important was it for you to establish yourself as your own man when you took over the top job?
    Iger: I think it is important for people who are given leadership roles to assume that role immediately. So I thought it was very important when I stepped into this role, that I assume the position so to speak and act the part as a leader because I thought that the company very much needed that. So that means providing direction, creating a level of accountability but also a significant amount of empowerment to people -- in other words, giving them a framework, letting them know that they are responsible but then giving them room to operate.
    Stevens: So you had a stint as a weatherman... obviously you didn't choose to pursue your on-camera career. Why not?
    Iger: You know, people ask me all of the time, do you have one dream or something unfulfilled? I never wanted to be a singer or musician or athlete but I must admit that having a job like yours is something that is still intriguing to me.
    Stevens: So do you think you would be good at it?
    Iger: I certainly I think I would be much better at it today than I was back then because of the confidence factor. But I gave it up at the time because I did not have that confidence and I didn't think I would be good enough or it would get me far enough. I guess it was the right decision.
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