Disney CEO continues on path to successby Leah Zanolla
Mar 7, 2008
Disney's CEO and President, Bob Iger, continues to earn praise following his address to shareholders at Disney's annual meeting.
The site chosen for this year's event was Albuquerque,New Mexico, home of "High School Musical's" fictional East Side High.
For the past five years, Disney's investors saw an average increase of 15.5%, outpacing the Standard & Poor's annual average. Recent reports show earnings still in double digits in spite of the current economic climate.
In speaking to the Disney shareholders, Iger stated "The success of our company rests, more than anything else, on the commitment of our 137,000 employees and cast members."
Initially, following Michael Eisner's tenure and having served as the controversial CEO's second in command, Iger's appointment was viewed with skepticism. Critics cited his oversight of the then under-performing ABC division and felt that he did not have the creativity needed for Disney to thrive.
Iger's first overture was to Steve Jobs, head of Pixar Animation Studios. By mending the rift created by Eisner, Pixar was back on board and continues to be a strong presence in theaters, Disney theme parks and merchandising.
Among Iger's fans is billionaire investor Warren Buffett who feels that Iger is one of the top CEO's in the nation and has done "an absolutely terrific job since coming in a couple years ago. It's not an easy company to manage, and he's done a first-class job."
Jeffrey Katzenberg, former chief of Walt Disney Studios who had a bitter parting with Eisner also praised Iger. Katzenberg, who now heads rival DreamWorks Animation, commented "He has found great people, many of which were there and not empowered, and many of which are new, and he has created an environment in which creativity is thriving. The heritage of that company is creativity. It is back and flourishing as much as it's ever done in its history."
When asked about his inspiration, Iger spoke of his mentor, Thomas S. Murphy, founder of ABC's former parent, CapCities. Under his guidance, Iger stated that he learned "you put good people in jobs and give them room to run."
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