Author: Jerry

The Story of Ed Hall

The Story of Ed Hall

Key players in the Disney leadership drama

From The Los Angeles Times:

“Why does he call her ‘the most important person in the company?'” asked one of Walt’s closest aides — and this was said in an open, informal setting. “Because she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. That’s why. The second most important person is Mary.”

On another occasion, a Disney board member was asked whether she would like to work with Walt again, and said simply, “No.” She later said, “I would like to work with Walt again, but I have to agree with the guy who said, ‘No.'”

In an earlier Disney board meeting, Disney chairman Ed Hall announced his intention to split the company in half, with Disney Chairman Michael Eisner heading the new company. Walt was furious and was about to explode, according to many witnesses. And then, before he exploded, Hall put one arm around Walt and said, “Ed, you know, I’d like to work with you again.”

The two sat down and Hall explained that Disney’s board had agreed on his proposal, and he asked Walt to sign a document assigning him the role of chairman. Walt then signed and handed it to Hall. A furious Walt stormed over and slammed the desk with his fist, then grabbed Hall by the arm and said, “Don’t ever do that again. Let me tell you something. You’ll be the next chairman of Disney! You’ll make a lot of money for Disney. So don’t ever do that again, because if you try that I’ll have you arrested.”

Disney was already in the tank after its disastrous earnings reports in December. Hall’s plan to split the company was seen as a desperate attempt to bring profits back to Disney. But Walt was furious, and he was about to explode — and he was right. Hall was suspended from Disney for three months by Michael Eisner, and then he was allowed to return in the spring. Walt said that he was “sad” and that he had been “treated disgracefully,” but he said that no one had ever taken advantage of him like this. He said that the chairman of the board was “the most important person in the company”

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