Eyes on Eisner, Again

Probably sensing that lingering around Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) as a mere board member would prove fruitless, ex-CEO Michael Eisner has resigned from the entertainment giant's board.

The move comes just as his hand-selected successor, Robert Iger, took the helm earlier this week. It's probably best for both Disney and Eisner that he chose to leave now instead of finishing out his term. This way, Iger can tackle the many challenges that Disney faces without being distracted by Eisner's shadow, while Eisner can carve out his next professional chapter.

Yes, that's right. You certainly didn't think that Eisner was going to just retire, did you? Sure, he's loaded, but someone as driven as Eisner is bound to take on a new challenge. More importantly, given his rather unceremonious departure, I'm sure that Eisner would like one last crack at going out on top.

Where will he wind up?

Eisner's annual shareholder letters often included warm anecdotes of his own family. It's a bond that he's unlikely to neglect. His son Breck Eisner recently made his big-screen directorial debut with Viacom's (NYSE: VIA  ) Sahara, so it's only natural to wonder whether Eisner will get back to his Hollywood roots by starting a family business with his rising-star son.

He may also be intrigued by satellite radio. Just as Sirius (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) tapped radio programming mastermind Mel Karmazin to lead the company after he ended his tenure with Viacom, perhaps Eisner's future is with XM Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: XMSR  ) . XM CEO Hugh Panero has done a great job in keeping the company on top, but if it was the star power of Karmazin and Howard Stern that attracted investors to Sirius, perhaps XM would entertain bringing Eisner on in some programming capacity.

The power struggle at Six Flags (NYSE: PKS  ) is also interesting. It would give Eisner a shot at redemption by turning around the troubled regional amusement park operator. However, it would probably be too much of a direct affront toward Disney. Eisner is more likely to attempt to restore his image as a crafty entertainment-industry leader in a capacity where he's not a direct Disney competitor. Besides, he has burned bridges at many of the company's rivals, such as DreamWorks Animation (NYSE: DWA  ) and eventually Pixar (Nasdaq: PIXR  ) .

In the end, I would be shocked if Eisner faded away from the spotlight. Opportunities will present themselves. He may not nibble at first, but he'll come around. This isn't the last you've heard of Eisner.

Further highly animated Foolishness:

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a huge fan of Disney and is willing to give Iger the benefit of the doubt. He owns shares of Disney, Six Flags, and Pixar.The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.


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