Thursday, January 17, 2008
Poor Unfortunate Souls...
As some of you have noticed, Greg Emmer is leaving the Disneyland Resort. I, for one am deeply saddened and wish he would stay on, but I also wish Greg well...
He was a much more palatable person to deal with than Ed Grier, and certainly more friendly, not to mention less stiff and uncomfortable with guest. He was truly one of the TDA Suits that I respected the most. When he was here with Matt Ouimett, we had a great team. He will be missed. I would hope that this doesn't portend a longer tenure for Jay Rasulo than we have already had to deal with. Word from inside the Resort is not good for Jay, but he's nothing if not a survivor. Please, Jay... do us a favor and retire. NOW.
But that got me to wondering...
What you ask? Well the question that came up was: "Where are they now?"
All those that have left the company over the past three or four years. Most of whom needed to go and at least one that we wished would have stayed. So I thought I'd compile a list of who's who and where they are.
So to speak...
We can't begin any discussion of former Disney executives without discussing the Head Cheese... or at least, former Head Cheese.
Michael Eisner - After his fall from grace, Eisner has now established a new company known as Tornante Co. and has purchased several properties in the last couple years. His firm now owns Topps baseball cards and Bazooka Joe. It appears the former Disney CEO has gone from Mice to Bubble Gum... let's hope he has someone like Frank Wells to temper his massive ego.
Paul Pressler - The man despised much more than Eisner and truthfully, the one I blame even more than the former CEO. A marketing guy without a soul, Pressler is the one that not only precided over, but actually is responsible for the plummet in quality at Disneyland and the rest of the parks in Disney's world. The 800 million dollar "Extreme Makeover" at DCA should be charged to Pressler's bank account. After his retirement from Disney, he became the CEO of Gap and he quickly showed he knew less how to run a clothing company than a entertainment company. He lasted from the fall of 2002 to early 2007... by then the Board knew they had a lemon on their hands and he "retired" rather than face an embarrassing firing. As one Gap employee noted: "Maybe he was the wrong guy at the wrong time". Well, duh... we, the Disney Geeks/Fans could have told you that one and saved you four years of suffering.
Cynthia Harriss - The short of it is to just look at what happened to Paul Pressler. Ms. Harris followed Pressler over to The Gap after resigning as President of the Disneyland Resort and was appointed president of Gap brand in May of 2005. She left in February of 2007, the same month that her boss, Pressler also resigned. Hopefully she will follow Pressler to his new job so that they can both be credited with trying to destroy three companies... the third time is the charm, you know.
Barry Braverman - The one time wunderkin that could do no wrong in Michael Eisner's eyes was told unceremoniously in June 2005 that his job was no longer needed... a polite way of saying: "get the @#^@ out, before we kick you out". Where Barry Braverman is now? Well, if you find out please tell me... I can't really mention his name to my Bothans. They seem to threaten not to send me anymore new information if I bring him up. Could it be they've quietly disposed of the body and want it keep quite? Probably not, Braverman has kept a quiet profile since leaving his position at WDI a little more than two years ago. Surely it doesn't take that long to fake a new resume? Wait a minute... DCA... maybe he should just change his name?
David Stainton - The former head of Walt Disney Feature Animation, who promptly resigned from Disney the day the Pixar acquisition was final... he could see the writing on the wall. Too bad he couldn't see how badly he was hated at the Hat Building. He was a Suit that should never, ever have been put in charge of animation. His belittling of the animators is widespread and he helped create the destructive culture that almost destroyed WDFA. He's established a production company since leaving Walt Disney Feature Animation that is named after his dog... I wonder if this is a metaphor for all the dogs he plans on putting out? Hopefully, Stainton doesn't treat his new writers and artist like the ones over in Burbank. I don't think his production company will survive if he does.
Tom Fitzgerald - Formerly at the top of the heap at WDI, Fitzgeral was sent packing(banished, really) to the development of Walt DIsney World where he's been working like a mad scientist to prove he's still worthy of John Lasseter's blessing. Hopefully he'll lay off all the 3-D projects he has been working on and do something with animatronics... just a little friendly advice, Tom.
Other than this sorry lot, there are a few others we could list, namely Don Goodman, president of WDI whose light at the Mouse is very quickly dimming. Several others whom I won't mention are also gone or have their Mouse careers on the chopping block as these words are being read.
And lastly, we come to what I call... my special "Wish" list for a retirement/firing/demotion or what-have-you:
Jay Rasulo - There have been rumblings that the man that took Pressler's place would be leaving within the next year and to that I say... That is too long to wait! Jay is the the one link that still needs to be replaced. I can only hope that the rumors I've heard are true... it would be a blessed day when he's no longer collecting a check from the Mouse.
Calling Matt Ouimett, calling Matt Ouimett? Where are you? I believe there is a position opening that we need you to fill...
Posted by Honor Hunter at 6:25 AM
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Great post, Honor!
I wonder if we'll learn about the MIA execs...
I understand the desire to demonize certain former Disney executives, but some of these comparisons are not fair when you look at the big picture.
Gap was struggling before Paul Pressler became CEO -- as is every other mall based specialty retailer in American. Mall traffic has been declining for a decade now, with big box stores taking the lead. There is not much Paul Pressler could have done to turn Gap around when people are doing their shopping at Target and Wal-Mart strip malls instead.
Additionally, you might look at the performance of Starwood Hotels since Matt Ouimet has been working there -- that company's financial performance is on the decline and the stock price is hovering at 52-week lows. Why not mention that fact as part of your analysis on where these executives have gone?
I think a fair assessment would be that Pressler is probably a good CEO, however not right for Disney. His strengths were in retail, not in themeparks.
I did not know that about Starwood, but perhaps Ouimet strengths were cruiselines/themeparks and he should get back to what he was good at.
Pressler completely missed a golden opportunity to increases traffic to the Gap. He should have installed a few Dumbo-type rides in the stores. He sure liked them when he was at Disney (Magic Carpets of Aladdin and Triceratop Spin).
Incidentally, when he came from the Disney Stores, where I worked for 11 years, he was considered a genius. The way I see it, the previous upper management of TDS had put together the Disney way of doing things and made the stores successful. Paul did nothing but ride on the coat tails. Prior to TDS he was at Mattel where things screwed up under his tenure.
Face it. Pressler was not a good manager.
It's not fair blaming Ouimet for Starwood Hotel's recent performance. The entire economy is at a 52 week low right now, including Disney: http://finance.google.com/finance?meta=hl%3Den&q=DIS
Hey, the economy goes in cycles. I don't expect everything to be perfect, but while Matt Ouimet was at Disneyland as its president, he was great. He was responsible for the success of much of the 50th annivesary and the steps he took to get DCA going with the limited resources he had was admirable. This says nothing about the human touch he delt with fellow Cast Members. This is something that Ed Grier is very, very lacking in.
What a trash talker. You bash all of of these CEOs while you hide behind a pen name. Is your name supposed to be ironically hypocritical or was that just a happy accident?
Your distaste of "suits" shows your immaturity to understand standard business practices. To play this antagonistic blame game is a waste of everyone's time. I'm surprised Walt's name wasn't on your list. He did have some bad PR during that artist strike, didn't he? I'm sure if that happened today, you'd be all over it.
This is simply political. Who do you like? Who do you hate? You don't really care where these people are now. You can barely stand to type their names. Judgments like this are always made in hindsight and often are too critical.
Pick your favorites, blog about them, and keep going. For a moment I thought this blog was serious. If you're going to steal Steven Colbert's routine, at least do it well.
Well Tony, seeing as this is HIS blog, he can write about whatever the hell he wants.
Great post Hunter!
Had the extreme displeasure of working for Braverman during my tenure at WDI. Remember him well as a smirking, skulking, manuvering, stupid jerk. If he and his ilk are finally being run off, WDI can only improve as a workplace. Glad to see I wasn't alone in my appraisal.
If you want to know who I do like all you have to do is go into the archives of the blog. You'll find them there...
I kept hearing from various places that Jay Rasulo wasn't suppose to make it to the New Year with Disney. What is going on with that and when can we finally look forward to him "pursuing other career opportunities" outside of the Disney Company.
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