December 8, 2004
What does it take to get fired these days? Donald Rumsfeld's continued tenure at the Pentagon, basketball fan-attacker Ron Artest's too-slight punishment and the idiocy emerging in the trial over the breakup of Disney's two Michaels all raise that question. Start with Rumsfeld. It's almost laughable in light of President Bush's ambitious Cabinet overhaul that Rumsfeld is among the few getting a second tour of duty.
December 8, 2004 |
Guess who came to court Tuesday. Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier took center stage in a Georgetown, Del., courtroom, testifying that his journey from "semi-literate tomato farmer" in the Bahamas to Hollywood icon made him uniquely qualified to serve for nine years as a Walt Disney Co. director. "Nobody on the board has had my life," Poitier said.
December 7, 2004 |
Walt Disney Co. director Gary Wilson testified Monday that allowing former President Michael Ovitz to stay on in a lesser role to avoid having to pay his severance would have hurt the company. Wilson, the chairman of Northwest Airlines Corp., said it would have been difficult for Disney Chief Executive Michael Eisner to find another second in command if Ovitz had stayed to finish out his five-year contract. Ovitz was fired in late 1996 after a little more than one year on the job.
December 3, 2004 |
Walt Disney Co.'s former top lawyer said ex-President Michael Ovitz's penchant for using company funds to buy gifts, such as stuffed animals and antiques, didn't justify ousting Ovitz without paying his severance.
December 2, 2004 |
Former Walt Disney Co. President Michael Ovitz's alleged mishandling of $140,000 in expenses didn't provide a way to fire him without paying his $140-million severance, Disney's former general counsel told a judge Wednesday. Sanford Litvack, who resigned as Disney's top lawyer in 2000, testified that personal gifts and meals Ovitz allegedly billed to the company didn't justify denying him severance under his contract.
December 1, 2004 |
Former Walt Disney Co. General Counsel Sanford Litvack said ex-President Michael Ovitz's failures didn't amount to the gross negligence required to fire him without paying his severance. Litvack, who testified Tuesday in the Delaware shareholder lawsuit seeking to recover Ovitz's severance, said he found no basis for ousting Ovitz for cause after reviewing complaints about the former talent agent. Other Disney executives complained about Ovitz's lavish spending and expense account.
November 30, 2004 |
A former Walt Disney Co. director testified Monday that Disney Chief Executive Michael Eisner told her in a December 1996 telephone conversation that then-Disney President Michael Ovitz was being fired and was eligible for a large severance package. Reveta F. Bowers said Eisner told her that Disney wasn't firing Ovitz for cause and intended to honor the terms of its contract with the former top talent agent.
November 24, 2004 |
Walt Disney Co. Chairman George J. Mitchell testified Tuesday that it was best that Michael Ovitz leave as company president in 1996 rather than prolong the growing tensions with other company executives. The former U.S. Senate majority leader also testified that directors substantially discussed Ovitz's pay package.
November 23, 2004 |
Michael Ovitz was a poor fit at Walt Disney Co. and alienated colleagues during his brief tenure as company president in 1995 and 1996, Disney's former chief financial officer testified Monday. Stephen Bollenbach, a former Disney director who is now chief executive of Hilton Hotels, said Ovitz's management style was "odd as opposed to useful."
November 20, 2004 |
On his last day of testimony in a trial that has showcased lavish spending, petty quarreling and stretched truths at one of the world's entertainment giants, Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Michael Eisner had a message: Hooray for Hollywood. Throughout the shareholder lawsuit over Eisner's ill-fated hiring of Michael Ovitz as second in command, an entire industry has seemingly been sullied. But, Eisner said, don't get the wrong picture.