Michael Ovitz became president in 1995; it was not a pretty sight, and he was gone in less than two years.
Jobs later offered his assessment: For his first ten years as CEO, Eisner did a really good job.
For the last ten years, he really did a bad job.
And the change came when Frank Wells died.
Eisner is a really good creative guy. He gives really good notes.
So when Frank was running operations, Eisner could be like a bumblebee going from project to project trying to make them better.
But when Eisner had to run things, he was a terrible manager.
Nobody liked working for him. They felt they had no authority.
He had this strategic planning group that was like the Gestapo,
in that you couldn't spend any money, not even a dime, without them approving it.
Even though I broke with him, I had to respect his achievements in the first ten years.
And there was a part of him I actually liked. He's a fun guy to be around at times -- smart, witty.
But he had a dark side to him. His ego got the better of him.
Eisner was reasonable and fair to me at first,
but eventually, over the course of dealing with him for a decade, I came to see a dark side to him.