Another Defection from Disney Board

Disney family confidant Stanley Gold became the latest director of The Walt Disney Co. to step down, seconding former Disney vice chairman Roy Disney’s call for chairman Michael Eisner to resign.

Gold’s resignation comes as no surprise: He is head of Shamrock Holdings Inc., a Disney family investment vehicle, and he is a chief advisor to Roy Disney, who resigned Sunday.

In his resignation letter, Roy Disney was extremely critical of Eisner and called for his resignation.

Gold seconded Roy Disney’s sentiments, adding that the criticisms he has leveled at the company in recent years have created an "insular board of directors serving as a bulwark to shield management from criticism and accountability. At this time, I believe there is little that I can achieve by working from within to refocus the company. I hope that my resignation will serve as a catalyst for change at Disney."

Gold was especially upset concerning the decision last year to make it mandatory for board members to retire after age 72. Board members who had served as Disney CEO are required to retire at age 75. Gold, 60, had been a Disney board member since 1987, according to its January proxy statement.

Gold said in his letter that the mandatory retirement applied only to nonmanagement directors. Roy Disney, he claimed, is clearly a management director.

For that reason, Gold wrote that the forced resignation of Roy Disney -- who has been increasingly critical of Eisner in recent months -- is "yet another attempt by this board to squelch dissent by hiding behind the veil of ‘good governance.’"