Year
2005

Disney names Robert Iger as new chief executive

On this day in 2005, the board of directors of the Walt Disney Company officially announces that Robert Iger, Disney’s president and chief operating officer, will succeed Michael Eisner as the company’s chief executive officer (CEO).

As Disney’s chief executive since 1984, Eisner was credited with expanding the company’s reach into diverse realms of the entertainment industry–including animated and live-action films, theater and theme parks–with phenomenal success. By the spring of 2004, however, Disney was struggling to emerge from a bit of a slump: Its ABC television division was struggling, while its once-dominant animation department was being outpaced by innovators such as Pixar, producers of the massive 2003 hit Finding Nemo. Shareholders voted to strip Eisner of his chairmanship of the Disney board that March, and Eisner announced in September that he would leave Disney in two years.

The following March, the announcement came that Iger, Disney’s president and Eisner’s loyal second-in-command since 2000, would succeed Eisner as the company’s CEO. Iger worked as a weatherman and news reporter in Ithaca, New York, before joining ABC in 1974. He rose through the ranks there and was eventually named president and chief operating officer of Capital Cities/ABC. The success of shows such as NYPD Blue, Roseanne, Home Improvement and America’s Funniest Home Videos

Iger had officially joined Disney’s senior management team in 1996 as chairman of the ABC Group; in 1999 he was named president of Walt Disney International. The following January, Iger was named Disney’s president and chief operating officer.

Things were looking up for Disney at the time of Iger’s promotion, as ABC had scored recent hits with Lost and Desperate Housewives and its movie division had showed strong results. From the time his succession was announced, Iger worked to give Disney’s various business units more autonomy. Seeing the enormous potential of advances in technology and new media, Iger also made it a priority to guide Disney into the future of entertainment. Less than two weeks after he officially took over as CEO on October 1, 2005, Iger announced a deal that made Disney- and ABC-owned TV show episodes available through Apple Computer’s online iTunes store. Rivals such as NBC and CBS hastened to follow suit and provide their programs for iTunes or on-demand viewing.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Tragedy at Dunblane

At Dunblane, a 13th-century village on the edge of the Scottish Highlands, 43-year-old Thomas Hamilton bursts into the gymnasium of the Dunblane Primary School with four guns and opens fire on a kindergarten class. Sixteen children and their teacher, Gwenne Mayor, were fatally ...read more

William Hershel discovers Uranus

The German-born English astronomer William Hershel discovers Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun. Herschel’s discovery of a new planet was the first to be made in modern times, and also the first to be made by use of a telescope, which allowed Herschel to distinguish Uranus ...read more

Czar Alexander II assassinated

Czar Alexander II, the ruler of Russia since 1855, is killed in the streets of St. Petersburg by a bomb thrown by a member of the revolutionary “People’s Will” group. The People’s Will, organized in 1879, employed terrorism and assassination in their attempt to overthrow Russia’s ...read more

“The Love Bug” opens in theaters

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U.S. Army launches K-9 Corps

On this day in 1942, the Quartermaster Corps (QMC) of the United States Army begins training dogs for the newly established War Dog Program, or “K-9 Corps.” Well over a million dogs served on both sides during World War I, carrying messages along the complex network of trenches ...read more

Viet Minh attack French garrison

A force of 40,000 Viet Minh with heavy artillery surround 15,000 French troops at Dien Bien Phu. French General Henri Navarre had positioned these forces 200 miles behind enemy lines in a remote area adjacent to the Laotian border. He hoped to draw the communists into a set-piece ...read more

Ban Me Thuot falls

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Johan Santana born

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Houston retreats from Santa Anna’s army

Less than a week after the disastrous defeat of Texas rebels at the Alamo, the newly commissioned Texan General Sam Houston begins a series of strategic retreats to buy time to train his ill-prepared army. Revolutionary Texans had only formally announced their independence from ...read more

Eric Clapton leaves the Yardbirds

In and of itself, one man leaving one band in the middle of the 1960s might warrant little more than a historical footnote. But what makes the departure of Eric Clapton from the Yardbirds on March 13, 1965, more significant is the long and complicated game of musical chairs it ...read more

Henrik Ibsen’s play Ghosts opens in London

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Quake rocks Turkey

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Kennedy proposes Alliance for Progress

President John F. Kennedy proposes a 10-year, multibillion-dollar aid program for Latin America. The program came to be known as the Alliance for Progress and was designed to improve U.S. relations with Latin America, which had been severely damaged in recent years. When Kennedy ...read more

Confederacy approves black soldiers

On this day in 1865, with the main Rebel armies facing long odds against must larger Union armies,the Confederacy, in a desperate measure,reluctantly approves the use of black troops. The situation was bleak for the Confederates in the spring of 1865. The Yankees had captured ...read more