It’s the end of another era at the Walt Disney Company. The honorable Senator George Mitchell is out as chairman and former Procter & Gamble CEO John Pepper is in. During the last 12 years of Michael Eisner’s reign at Disney a diplomat with the skills of Mitchell was needed to direct the Mouse House through the troubled waters. Now with Bob Iger in charge and the Walt Disney Company back on the path to capturing the magic it was once so famous for a new direction is needed for the Board of Directors.
The selection of Peppers, whose former company is known for its consumer products and strong business brands but not media or entertainment (which is Disney’s domain), sounds like Iger is sending a message to the board saying "we’ll handing the creative stuff, you just keep watch on our business practices. Make sure we’re sound financially, responsible to our shareholders, and not doing any funny stuff that could get us in trouble with the law. That sounds like a good direction to go to me.
The Motley Fool Disney analyst has some comments along the same lines.
Rebuilding the damage Eisner did to Disney’s brand will not be easy, but the NY Times thinks Pepper’s experience at Consumer Branding might help in that area too.
Also notable is Pepper’s experience in growing the China market for P&G. Hmmm, hasn’t there been some recent expansion by Disney in that market too?
This also means that any rumors you heard about Steve Jobs moving in on the Chairman position were likely false. I don’t see Jobs making that leap, at least not anytime soon. He’s still got too much on his hands at Apple as it is beginning to leak some of its most faithful users.