See, Pressler ran Disney's park and resort operations, and few things stir up a Disney newsgroup tempest more than discussing how Pressler's watch was full of off-the-shelf ride additions and gutting popular attractions for the sake of gift-shop space.
Pressler has proven to be a shrewd cost cutter and a retail enhancer, dating back to when he helped grow the Disney Store concept. So while Disney fans might wonder what made Pressler such a hot commodity in recent months, the fact that he was on the shortlist to take over AOL Time Warner's
He has likened Disney to a big retail location. The way merchandise kiosks and gift shops at attraction exits popped up at the Disney parks during his tenure, it's easy to believe it, too. He won't be shoehorning water rides into Old Navy stores, that's for sure. But while Pressler found easy prey with a smitten Disney audience, Winnie the Pooh khakis and Goofy painter pants won't cut it in the house that Drexler built. It's a challenge that Pressler will no doubt relish, hoping to get the last laugh over Disney enthusiasts who figured that they just lucked out in passing the Old Maid card to Gap.
Disney wasted no time in finding a replacement for Pressler. Over the weekend, it was announced that Euro Disney chief Jay Rasulo would be promoted to Pressler's post. Euro Disney? Uh-oh. Park fanatics might feel like they just fell out of the quality-shredding frying pan and into the fire sale, but Rasulo worked up the ranks the old-fashioned way. You can't pin Euro Disney's earlier failures on him, since he had been heading up the subsidiary for only the last two years.
One thing that both Pressler and Rasulo have going for them: They're inheriting franchises with a lot of pessimism priced in. Gap? Disney's theme parks? Just a couple of years ago, they were globally admired growth operations. It's a new slate now. Let's see if they earn their promotions.