Steve Jobs pulling all of the strings at Disney? January 31, 2006Posted by Matsu in Management.
I just received the February 6, 2006 edition of Business Week. It’s the one with Steve Jobs on the cover and the article about how he’s taking over the Magic Kingdom (as part of the Pixar buy out he was given seat on Disney’s board of directors – after all, he is the majority stockholder). This interesting article speculates on Jobs’ potential influence over how Disney operates (and also mentions the real influence he’s already on the industry through Pixar).
When the new Disney CEO, Robert A. Iger, was named to succeed Michael D. Eisner, Steve Jobs was one of the first people to call Iger to congratulate him. Then, when Jobs approached Iger about having Disney-owned content available for the rollout of the video iPod this past fall, it took only three days to work out the details and make it happen. Two weeks after Iger assumed the office of CEO at Disney, he was on the stage with Steve Jobs announcing the new video iPod and the ABC television shows (owned by Disney) that were available immediately from the iTunes Store. According to Business Week, the deal came together on Internet time, in just three days. Iger wanted to prove to Apple and the world that Disney could be a nimble company, embracing the latest technology for delivering and viewing video content.
John Lasseter, the head of Pixar studio’s creative team, is now in charge of both the Pixar and Disney animation studios. And, Pixar’s president, Edwin Catmull, will be in charge of the business end of the two studios. By all appearances, Disney has replaced its movie studio management team with Pixar’s management team. That has to be a good thing.
What is not known is how much influence Steve Jobs can have on Disney’s destiny by occupying one seat on the board of directors. Can he influence people without being the CEO? Will his ideas and opinions have enough merit that the other board members will embrace them? It will certainly be interesting to see how this all plays out.
Mr. Jobs, welcome to the Magic Kingdom. Enjoy the ride.