Michael Eisner Biography
Michael Eisner (Michael Dammann Eisner) is an American businessman who was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Walt Disney Company from September 1984 to September 2005.
Before Disney, Eisner was President and CEO of rival film studio Paramount Pictures from 1976 to 1984, and had brief stints at the major television networks: CBS, NBC, and ABC.
Michael Eisner Age
Eisner was born on March 7, 1942 in Mount Kisco, New York, United States. He is 80 years old as of 2022.
Michael Eisner Height
Eisner stands at a height of 6 feet 3 inch (1.91 m).
Michael Eisner Family
Michael Eisner was born to an affluent, secular Jewish family in Mount Kisco, New York. He is the son of, Margaret (née Dammann), whose family founded the American Safety Razor Company, and she was the president of the Irvington Institute, a hospital that treated children with rheumatic fever.
Eisner’s father, Lester Eisner, Jr., was a lawyer and regional administrator of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
His great-grandmother, Bertha Weiss, belonged to an immigrant family that established the town of Red Bank, New Jersey and his great-grandfather, Sigmund Eisner, established a very successful clothing company that was one of the first uniform suppliers to the Boy Scouts of America.
Michael Eisner Wife
Eisner is married to Jane Breckenridge, a Unitarian of Swedish and Scottish descent. The two met after college in 1964.
Michael Eisner Son
Eisner and his wife Breckenridge have three sons: Breck, Eric and Anders Eisner. His son Breck is a television and film director. His other son Eric is the founder and CEO of Double E Pictures, and partner at The Tornante Company.
Michael Eisner Net Worth
Eisner has an estimated net worth of $1 billion which he has earned by being the chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company for 11 years.
Michael Eisner Salary
Eisner earns an estimated salary of about $1 million to $5 million dollars.
Michael Eisner Education
Eisner attended the Allen-Stevenson School kindergarten through ninth grade followed by The Lawrenceville School in 10th through his senior year. He then graduated from Denison University in 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
Eisner is a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity and credits much of his accomplishments to his time at Keewaydin Canoe Camp for boys in Vermont. He has one sister, Margot Freedman.
Michael Eisner Career
Michael Eisner ABC and Paramount
After two brief stints at CBS and NBC, Barry Diller at ABC hired Eisner as Assistant to the National Programming Director. Michael moved up the ranks, eventually becoming a senior vice president in charge of programming and development.
In 1976, Barry Diller, who had by then moved on to become chairman of Paramount Pictures, recruited Eisner from ABC and made him president and CEO of the movie studio.
During Diller’s tenure at Paramount, the studio produced films such as Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Ordinary People, the Star Trek film franchise, Raiders of the Lost Ark, An Officer and a Gentleman, Terms of Endearment, Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop, and Footloose, and TV shows such as Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Cheers and Family Ties.
On September 30, 1984, Diller left Paramount and, as his protégé, Eisner expected to assume Diller’s position as studio chief. When Eisner was passed over for the job, though, he left to look for work elsewhere and lobbied for the position of CEO of The Walt Disney Company.
Michael Eisner The Walt Disney Company
Following the death of founder Walt Disney in 1966, The Walt Disney Company narrowly survived several takeover attempts. Its shareholders Roy E. Disney and Sid Bass brought in Eisner (as CEO and Chairman of the Board) and former Warner Brothers chief Frank Wells (as President) to replace Ron W. Miller in 1984 and strengthen the company. Eisner brought in Jeffrey Katzenberg as Walt Disney Studios chairman.
A couple years after becoming Chairman and CEO, Michael Eisner became the presenter of The Wonderful World of Disney TV series, making him the public face of the company as well as its top executive.
Although he was not a performer by profession, studio management believed Eisner could do the hosting job, after filming a test video with his wife Jane and a member of his executive team (which required multiple takes).
Eisner hired Michael Kay, a director of political commercials for then-U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, to help him improve his on-camera performance. As a result, Eisner was well recognized by children at the company’s theme parks who often asked him for autographs.
During the second half of the 1980s and early 1990s, Michael Eisner revitalized Disney. Beginning with the films Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and The Little Mermaid (1989), its flagship animation studio enjoyed a series of commercial and critical successes.
Disney also broadened its adult offerings in film when it acquired Miramax Films in 1993. Under Eisner, Disney acquired many other media sources, including ESPN and ABC. The ABC purchase in particular reunited Eisner with his former employer.
In the early part of the 1990s, Eisner and his partners set out to plan “The Disney Decade” which was to feature new parks around the world, existing park expansions, new films, and new media investments.
While some of the proposals were completed, most were not. Those completed included the Euro Disney Resort (now Disneyland Paris), Disney’s California Adventure Park (now Disney California Adventure), Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios), Disney-MGM Studios Paris (eventually opened in 2002 as Walt Disney Studios Park), and various film projects including a Who Framed Roger Rabbit franchise.
In 1993, Katzenberg had lobbied to become Michael Eisner’s second in command, which would have meant moving Frank Wells from president to vice chairman, to which Eisner ‘replied that Wells would feel “hurt” in that scenario’. Frank Wells died in a helicopter crash in 1994.
When Eisner did not appoint Katzenberg to Wells’ now available post, this caused tensions between the two that led to Katzenberg being fired later that year. Katzenberg went on to found DreamWorks SKG, with partners David Geffen and Steven Spielberg.
Eisner recalled that “Roy E. Disney [Walt Disney’s nephew and a force on Disney’s board who Eisner says “could be a troublemaker”], who did not like him at all — I forget the reason, but Jeffrey probably did not treat him the way that Roy would have wanted to be treated — said to me, ‘If you make him the president, I will start a proxy fight.'”
Michael Eisner then recruited his friend Michael Ovitz, one of the founders of the Creative Artists Agency, to be President, with minimal involvement from Disney’s board of directors (which at the time included Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier, the CEO of Hilton Hotels Corporation Stephen Bollenbach, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, Yale dean Robert A. M. Stern, and Eisner’s predecessors Raymond Watson and Card Walker).
Ovitz lasted only 14 months, and in December 1996 he left Disney, via a “no fault termination” with a severance package of $38 million in cash, and 3 million stock options worth roughly $100 million, at the time of Ovitz’s departure.
The Ovitz episode engendered a long running derivative suit, which finally concluded in June 2006, almost 10 years later. Chancellor William B. Chandler, III of the Delaware Court of Chancery, despite describing Michael Eisner’s behavior as falling “far short of what shareholders expect and demand from those entrusted with a fiduciary position…” found in favor of Eisner and the rest of the Disney board because they had not violated the letter of the law (namely, the duty of care owed by a corporation’s officers and board to its shareholders).
Michael Eisner Retirement
On March 13, 2005, Michael Eisner announced that he would step down as CEO one year before his contract expired, and handed off day-to-day duties to Bob Iger, who had been serving as Disney’s President and Chief Operating Officer and had been just selected by the directors as the CEO-designate.
Michael did not initially promote Iger as a successor until after the board put pressure on Eisner to resign. He remarked that “I would not have agreed to [leave] if it hadn’t been Bob. Because of governance, they wanted a big search and everything. … And by the end of the search, it was clear that I was able to convince the board — our newly constructed board — that Bob was great.”
On September 30, Michael Eisner resigned both as an executive and as a member of the board of directors, and, severing all formal ties with the company, he waived his contractual rights to perks such as the use of a corporate jet and an office at the company’s Burbank headquarters.
In January 2006, Disney’s corporate headquarters in Burbank was renamed to Team Disney – The Michael D. Eisner Building in Eisner’s honor.
Michael Eisner Lord Farquaad/ Shrek
There are some speculations that Lord Farquaad (the villain) from shreck has the personality and appearnce of Michael Eiser, this was after he fired Dreamworks founder Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Michael Eisner Books
- 2010: Working Together
- 2005: Camp
- 2001: The Crusader
- 2001: Making Magic Work: Inspiring Confidence and Motivating Your Staff
- 2000: Thank You, Teacher: Letters Celebrating …
- 1999: Work in Progress
- 1998: Work in Progress: Risking …
Michael Eisner House
In 2012, Michael Eisner bought a $8.2M house on a stunning estate right next door to his current home in Bel Air.