Amid the chaos in the corporate offices of Vivendi Universal, Barry Diller, chairman of the Hollywood studio and recreation divisions, has been a phantom, keeping out of the public eye and corporate cross-fire. On Tuesday, however, he surfaced in cyberspace to deliver a short message to his troops: Keep your noses to the grind stone.
"It is reasonable to be upset, saddened or simply confused and weary by the turmoil of the last period and the resultant change in leadership, but it's more important right now to view this change as the end of an increasingly distracting and tumultuous time and the beginning of a clear-eyed, long term and stable strategy.... Now is not the time to analyze and dissect the past.
"Transitions are always difficult, and while this one is exacerbated by turbulent capital and equity markets that will try us all, the work that you do so successfully well will ensure safe passage for Universal.
"So keep only this in mind as the rumors and speculation and town criers abound--you are all part of an enterprise with fine values first established by Jules Stein and Lew Wasserman more than 70 years ago ... and that the motion picture, television, and recreation businesses begun by them may have gone through multiple convolutions over the last decade, but nothing will deter their ability to grow and thrive with those same values intact far into the future."