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Last Updated: Friday, 10 September, 2004, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Disney boss prepares to step down
Donald Duck and Michael Eisner
Mr Eisner has fallen out with some members of the Disney clan
Disney chief executive Michael Eisner has announced he will step down in 2006 - just months after a shareholder revolt which almost deposed him.

Mr Eisner, who has led Disney for two decades, will not seek to renew his contract when it runs out in two years.

Since 1984 Disney's worth rose 20-fold to a high of almost $60bn (33bn).

But recently the firm has faltered, and both Walt Disney's daughter and a number of key shareholders came close to ousting him in March.

A compromise was eventually agreed which saw him keep the chief executive's job but give up the chairmanship.

Handover

The decision to announce his departure two years ahead of time meets with some of his detractors' desires.

Diane Disney Miller, the iconic founder's daughter, said in March that she wanted him to start preparing to hand over the company.

"It's time to step down and let someone else come in for the future," Mrs Disney Miller said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

"New leadership is necessary. I think Michael Eisner did some great things for the company, but there are also some not so great things."

Mr Eisner has already come close to anointing a successor, according to media reports.

The Los Angeles Times said he had recommended company president Robert Iger, who told the paper he would like the job.

Independence

But a number of influential public pension funds - who controlled a portion of the 43% of votes which were withheld from Mr Eisner in March - want the board to be more independent in picking someone for the top job.

The failed campaign to oust Mr Eisner was led by former board members via a website, savedisney.com.

Among them were Roy Disney, Walt Disney's nephew, who complained that Mr Eisner had failed to sustain the company's strategic vision.

Mr Eisner also ran into regular controversy thanks to his huge pay awards.


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