Michael Eisner


DEFINITION of 'Michael Eisner'

A former CEO of Walt Disney from 1984 to 2005. Michael Eisner was initially extremely successful in this role: he oversaw the production of numerous blockbuster films, helped the company diversify, saw its stock price rise and helped increase annual revenues by $7 billion.

Starting in the mid-to-late 1990s, the company suffered financially and Eisner faced increasing criticism for his management style and decision making. Because of his falling popularity, he was not re-elected as chairman in 2004 and he stepped down as CEO and director in 2005.

BREAKING DOWN 'Michael Eisner'

Born in 1942 in New York State, Eisner earned his BA in 1964 from Denison University. He began his media career as a page for NBC in 1963, and also worked briefly at CBS before beginning a long career with ABC in 1966 as assistant to the national programming director.

He worked his way up to senior vice president for prime-time production and development over the next 10 years, then joined Paramount Pictures as its president and CEO before going to Walt Disney as its chairman and CEO in 1984, a position he would hold for 20 years. He also established the Los Angeles-based Eisner Foundation in 1996 to help disadvantaged children and the elderly.

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