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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Disney to open search for new CEO

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday it expects to announce a new chief executive by next June after a search that will include both inside and outside candidates to replace Michael Eisner, who is retiring in 2006.

The board said Disney will hire an executive search firm and consider President Robert Iger as a candidate.

“He is an outstanding executive and the board regards him as highly qualified for the position,” the board said in a statement. “However, the board believes that the process should include full consideration of external candidates as well.”

The board, which has been meeting for two days, said it has full confidence in Eisner and expects him to assist in the transition and remain with the company until 2006.

Board Chairman George Mitchell said a new CEO could be named sooner than next June and left open the possibility of Eisner leaving sooner.

“He will continue to be the CEO until such time the board determines it is appropriate for a new CEO to take office,” Mitchell said in a conference call with reporters.

Mitchell said Iger is the only internal prospect.

“We do not anticipate any other internal candidates being considered,” he said.

Mitchell said the board will begin a search for his successor as chairman after it has named a new CEO. Mitchell will turn 72 next year — the board’s mandatory retirement age. He said he will not stand for re-election at the 2006 annual meeting.