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Iger answers critics- CNN.com- 5/12/05

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  • Iger answers critics- CNN.com- 5/12/05

    The CEO-elect of Walt Disney says company employees are "fed up" with critics.

    NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Michael Eisner, the outgoing CEO of Walt Disney Co., is known for his combative style while his hand-picked successor, Robert Iger, has been described as a consensus-builder.

    On Wednesday, Iger revealed publicly that he too has a feisty side.

    Speaking to analysts during a conference call after Disney reported earnings, Iger responded to a question about a recent lawsuit filed over his selection as the Disney's next chief by saying he's spoken to company employees and everyone is "fed up" with the constant carping by company critics.
    "They want the rhetoric to end and they want to concentrate on what they do best," said Iger.

    Iger's pugnacity comes two days after former Disney directors and current shareholders Roy Disney and Stanley Gold challenged Iger's promotion in a lawsuit that claims Disney's current board of directors misled them about its search for a new CEO. The dissidents want to void the company's recent directors' election and are demanding that the company release information about its search.

    The question about the lawsuit -- and its potential impact -- was directed generally at the three Disney executives who hosted Wednesday's analyst call. Iger spoke up first.

    Iger has reason to be dismissive.

    After years of lackluster growth, Disney is on a roll. The world's second-largest media company reported second-quarter earnings and revenues Wednesday afternoon that beat Wall Street estimates.

    Disney's three-largest divisions -- its California and Florida theme parks, the ABC television and cable networks, and its Buena Vista movie studio -- all posted healthy gains compared to last year's quarter. Total revenues for the quarter ended April 2 came to $7.8 billion, a 9 percent increase. Net income jumped 30 percent, to $689 million.

    Despite the solid numbers, Disney investors were unimpressed. Disney (Research) stock was up only slightly in after-hours trading.
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