BURBANK, Calif. -- Walt Disney Chairman Michael Eisner reshuffled his executive deck on Monday, naming ABC chief Robert Iger as his second-in-command.
At the same time, Eisner got unexpected bad news that Rob Moore, the top financial executive at Walt Disney Studios, resigned, underscoring concerns about Eisner's ability to keep top executives. Less than two weeks ago, Eisner referred to Moore in the press as ''the best business executive I've ever had.''
The Iger announcement involved a series of accompanying promotions and a convoluted reporting structure -- clearly aimed at soothing high-level executives that raises questions about Iger's true authority as Disney's president and chief operating officer. It also underscores long-standing concerns about Eisner's historical resistance to empowering top people who work for him.
Iger, who said in an interview that Eisner has discussed the promotion with him for two years, downplayed those concerns about the reporting structure.
''The only thing I can tell you about this is I am completely comfortable with it. Although I understand how others on the outside might suffer from a lack of understanding. I don't, and neither does Michael,'' Iger said.
Disney officials are privately downplaying whether Iger should be considered Eisner's heir apparent. Asked about it, Iger said ''from my perspective, I'm assuming one job only. I've got enough to focus on in this one position.''
Eisner has been under pressure because Disney's earnings have been soft.
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