• On September 30, 2005, Michael Eisner resigned as CEO of the Walt Disney Company.

During Michael Eisner’s 21-year tenure at Disney, he helped transform it into an entertainment industry giant whose holdings included movies, theme parks and a cruise line, television networks and sports teams.

Eisner also presided over a “golden age” of animation, during which Disney produced blockbuster movies like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and became a marketing powerhouse.

Michael Eisner was born on March 7, 1942 in New York. After graduating from Denison University in 1964, he worked his way up through the programming ranks at network television.

In 1976, Paramount Pictures Chairman of the Board Barry Diller hired Eisner as the company’s president and CEO.

During Eisner’s time at Paramount in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the studio produced such successful films as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Flashdance, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Footloose, Ordinary People, Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, Terms of Endearment and An Officer and a Gentleman.

In the midst of all his success, Eisner became involved in a lawsuit involving former Disney movie studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg and a multimillion-dollar severance package awarded to Michael Ovitz, who briefly served as Disney chairman under Eisner.

In 2004, Roy Disney, nephew of the company’s founder, resigned from his board position to protest what he reportedly perceived as Eisner’s mismanagement.

At the time, Disney stock was down and its ABC television network was having poor ratings.

At a March 2004 meeting, 43% of voting shareholders expressed their lack of confidence in Eisner, and a new chairman of the board was appointed.

Eisner remained CEO of the company for the next year and a half, until he formally resigned on September 30, 2005. His former second-in-command, Robert Iger, succeeded him.

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