Q-A with Stanley Gold

Business Week L.A. bureau chief Ron Grover interviewed Disney dissident Stanley Gold on Friday for BW Online. Gold predicts that, even with Disney's recent 71% jump in earnings, Eisner will be gone by next year. He fences with Grover a little on the question of succession, but says Steve Jobs could run the company.

Q: How optimistic are you that you can still unseat Eisner? A: Very optimistic. I believe that the shareholders will ultimately understand, as they did in Philadelphia [where the annual meeting was held], that this is a company that doesn't perform, the board doesn't hold anyone accountable, and ultimately there will be a change in board and management in this company within a reasonable length of time.

Q: If you could bring in someone to take his place, who would that be?
A: There are four or five people who could run this company, but if I told you who they were, the Disney PR people would only trash them. They all have jobs and careers, and it would be foolish for me to name them.

Q: Is Disney President Bob Iger one of those?
A: No. In Bob Iger's own words, the last five years his primary focus has been on fixing ABC. Rewarding him with the job would be rewarding mediocrity, or in his case failure...

Q: How about News Corp. (NWS ) President Peter Chernin? A: He'd be on the short list.

Q: Viacom (VIA ) President Mel Karmazin?
A: He'd be on the short list.

Q: Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner's (TWX ) chairman of entertainment and networks?
A: He'd be on the short list.

Q: Viacom's [MTV Networks chief] Tom Freston?
A: Probably be on the short list.

Q: What about [Apple (AAPL ) and Pixar (PIXR ) Chairman] Steve Jobs?
A: He's definitely on the short list. He has proven that he has creativity, talent, and the people on the creative side love to work for him. The result is that his product is very good, and it makes money. This is not rocket science...

Q: So how long do you think Eisner has?
A: He won't be there next year.

(Tip via I Want Media)

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