Eisner: A Fair Day's Pay For A Fair Haired Boy?
"How high can CEO pay go?" (Special Report, Apr. 22) unfairly characterized Walt Disney CEO Michael D. Eisner's compensation as out of proportion to shareholder value. Unfortunately, this evaluation was presented in a narrow context that misrepresents the dramatic benefits Eisner has brought stockholders since he took over.
Eisner's compensation package was largely designed at a time when the company was in a shambles and investors unenthusiastic. Eisner has been paid handsomely over the years only because he transformed Disney from a stagnant company on the verge of being raided in 1984 into a premier entertainment Goliath with 10 times the revenue and enough power to take over Capital Cities/ABC Inc. in the nation's second-largest acquisition. Disney's renaissance under Eisner has been remarkable even by exacting Wall Street standards, and the stock has seen a steady, above-market rise in value.
Placing such a heavy emphasis on annual returns is the kind of shortsightedness that is a problem with American business as a whole. What a CEO does in the long term to expand assets, enlarge dividends, and increase market share should be the more important measure. On this basis, Michael Eisner has earned his compensation.