Robert Iger to succeed Disney's Eisner

March 13, 2005 at 7:08 PM
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LOS ANGELES, March 13 (UPI) -- The Walt Disney Company announced Sunday that Robert Iger will succeed Michael Eisner as chief executive in September, the New York Times reported.

Iger's rise to power will come a full year earlier than Eisner had originally said he would step down. However, Eisner wrote a letter to the board of directors that said he would not vie for a chairmanship or a seat on the board -- a position many experts speculated he would want -- after Oct. 1.

Experts both inside and outside the company had expected the board to name Iger for months after Eisner endorsed his candidacy. He was named Disney president by Eisner in 2000.

Iger had worked his way up in the ABC sports division and was later appointed president of ABC Entertainment where he shepherded the popular shows: "Doogie Howser, M.D.," "Family Matters," "Home Improvement" and "America's Funniest Home Videos."

However, he is perhaps most remembered as the ABC executive who, in 1991, cancelled "Twin Peaks," "China Beach," "Thirtysomething," and "Equal Justice."

Eisner's turbulent 20-year tenure at Disney was marked by a shareholder revolt last March, leading to his announcement that he would not seek to renew his contract.

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