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Under CEO Eisner, Disney Has Thrived

October 13, 2002

"Failing Magic at Disney" (editorial, Sept. 29) was highly critical of Michael Eisner's stewardship of Walt Disney Co. Beginning in 1984, Eisner took a historic enterprise, which had grown moribund, and gave it a new, energized, creative zest that so ignited the company that it rode an ascending curve of fiscal and creative success over the years. How successful? The stock has increased roughly 1,200% since 1984. Would any stockholder object to this kind of increase?

I count Eisner to be in the very top tier of chief executives. I know, because I have observed them all with an intimate scrutiny. Your editorial cited the fall of the price of Disney stock and endorsed Eisner identifying a successor. Has not the Dow collapsed, which means that falling stock prices are a malady that has infected a majority of the Fortune 500 companies? What could a successor do that Eisner is not trying to do? Can a successor erase 9/11 and entice people to patronize theme parks again? Is it Eisner's fault that families are not traveling as much with their children since 9/11?

There is no magic formula that springs like Athena, full-blown, from the forehead of Zeus. None. If there were, then countless corporations would celebrate the rise of their stock prices and a resurgence of earnings. It is not as if Disney broods in resplendent isolation when the rest of the business community glows with fiscal triumph.

Eisner doesn't need my endorsement; his record in his Disney leadership tenure matches the best of the best in achievement through the years.

Jack Valenti

Chairman

Motion Picture Assn.

Washington

*

Eisner has the best interests of Southern Californians at heart. Your editorial ignored the community contributions that Eisner has made, through Cal State Northridge and Project GRAD Los Angeles, to the children and families of the northeast San Fernando Valley. For many years, Eisner has walked door-to-door in Pacoima -- a neighborhood not a media magnet -- to recruit Latino youth for our college scholarship program. The oldest among these children are now seniors at San Fernando High School and will be enrolling in college next fall. He has supported our organization through our good times and bad. We would encourage Southern Californians to do the same for Eisner and Disney.

Cheryl Mabey

Executive Director

Project GRAD Los Angeles

North Hollywood

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