Ousted Disney Execs Drop Protest - Broadcasting & Cable

Ousted Disney Execs Drop Protest

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It's been a long and bitter feud, but Mickey Mouse has made up with his nephew.

Ousted Disney directors Roy E. Disney (the founder's nephew) and Stanley P. Gold, will drop their various lawsuits against the company and have agreed not to run a rival set of directors, at least for the next five years, according to the former Disney executives.

For its part, the company has named Roy Disney a director emeritus and consultant to the company.

The two had argued with the direction of the company, been forced off the board as a result, campaigned to oust CEO Michael Eisner from his 21-year post atop the company--he was forced to leave early--had been openly critical of his successor, Robert Iger, and even started their own savedisney.com Web site to rally opposition to Disney management.

Roy Disney and Gold lost a battle with Eisner over the direction of the company and since leaving in December 2003--Disney was effectively ousted and Gold quit--have led a long and very public campaign to boot him.

In March of 2004, they were instrumental in getting 43% of Disney shareholders to withhold their vote to re-elect Eisner as chairman and CEO, which led to the company splitting off the chairman title and giving it to George Mitchell.

The board decided in March to name Iger to succeed Eisner as CEO effective Sept. 30, 2005, a year earlier than Eisner had planned to exit, Gold and Disney were not happy with the choice of successor, saying. "The selection of Bob Iger is yet another example of this Board's breach of faith."

But on Friday, Gold and Roy Disney were singing a different tune, expressing "confidence" in Iger's leadership. They even "ackowledged" the retiring Eisner's contributions to the company.

No word on the fate of savedisney.com, though fans could always start their own Web site, savesavedisney.com.

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