Disney Studio Chief Ousted
Disney Studios chief Dick Cook received his walking papers from Disney Chairman Robert Iger in a ten-minute late-afternoon meeting last Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Monday) citing unspecified accounts of the meeting. Cook, who began his career at Disney 38 years ago as an operator of a Disneyland monorail train, later told colleagues that he was stunned when Iger told him that "after a lot of thought" he had decided to "go in a different direction," then went on to refer to complaints that "the studio was overly secretive, uncooperative and isolated from the other divisions," the Times said. Formal statements announcing Cook's departure were issued in the early evening on Friday, with Cook referring to a famous comment by baseball's Yogi Berra "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." According to the Times , a teary-eyed Cook first read the statement to his staff earlier in the day, asking that they not disclose the news before it was released to the press and that they "give me two minutes to walk out the door alone. For his part, Iger said, "On behalf of everyone at Disney, we wish him the best." Reverberations were immediate. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer said that he was "in shock" over the announcement. Actor Johnny Depp, who said that he had agreed to appear in Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides without seeing a script when Cook contacted him indicated that he was reconsidering his decision. "There's a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment," he told the Times. There was no immediate announcement about who would be succeeding Cook, but insiders appeared to be betting heavily on John Lasseter, Disney Animation's "chief creative officer."