MUMBAI: In a rather shocking departure, The Walt Disney Studios chairman Richard (Dick) W Cook has stepped down from his position after 38 years of being in the company.
Regarding his departure, Cook said, "I am stepping down from my role as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, effective immediately. I have loved every minute of my 38 years that I have worked at Disney… from the beginning as a ride operator on Disneyland’s steam train and monorail to my position as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. To wrap up my Disney experience in a neatly bundled statement is close to impossible. But what I will say is, during my time at the Studio, we have achieved many industry and company milestones. Our talent roster is simply the best in the business. I believe our slate of upcoming motion pictures is the best in our history. But most of all, I love the people, my colleagues, my teammates, who are the most talented, dedicated and loyal folks in the world. I know that I leave the Studio in their exceptional hands."
He further added, "I have been contemplating this for some time now and feel it’s the right time for me to move on to new adventures… and in the words of one of my baseball heroes, Yogi Berra, "If you come to a fork in the road, take it."
The Walt Disney Company president and CEO Robert A Iger said, "Throughout his distinguished 38-year Disney career, Dick Cook’s outstanding creative instincts and incomparable showmanship have truly enriched this company and significantly impacted Disney’s great legacy. We thank Dick for his tremendous passion for Disney, and his many accomplishments and contributions to The Walt Disney Studios, including a very promising upcoming film slate. On behalf of everyone at Disney, we wish him the best with all the future has to offer."
International media reports doing the rounds say that Cook was fired from the company. According to the LA Times, "A person close to Cook said the movie chief "didn’t see it coming." He was summoned into a meeting and was told the studio "wanted to go in a different direction."
It may be recalled that last month, Disney agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment’s Lock, Stock And Barrel for $4 million. Cook’s departure comes nearly three weeks after the announcement. Disney’s recent movies have also not been giving the studio the desired box office collections. After the success of films like Pirates Of The Caribbean and National Treasure franchises, came a slate of flops like Confessions of a Shopaholic, Bedtime Stories and G-Force. What’s more, the studio lost $12 million in the most recent quarter as opposed to a profit of $ 97 million in the corresponding period last year despite the success of films like Pixar’s Up and The Proposal.