Show business news media is buzzing with the ouster of long-time Disney Studios chief Dick Cook. In a scant ten-minute meeting with Disney CEO Bob Iger, Cook was fired. Disney watchers are shocked because Cook was a lifer, having started out at age 21 as a Disneyland tour guide, he rose over the next 38 years to become one of the most well-liked executive in a dog-eat-dog business. As this Studio Briefing item points out, Johnny Depp is having second thoughts about returning to his role of Captain Jack Sparrow for a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film if Cook isn't captain of the studio. And Los Angeles Times entertainment news reporter Patrick Goldstein captures the dismay of many at the sudden expulsion of the veteran executive.

In January of 2008 I wrote an article for World magazine (subscription required to read whole article) about the renewal of Disney's family values brought about by Disney's purchase of Pixar and the studio's increased focus on family entertainment brought about under Iger's leadership with Dick Cook among those credited for polishing one of the most distinctive entertainment brands in the world. Cook was canned for apparently being too secretive, which doesn't sound like a hanging offense. And we can only ponder just what change Iger intends to bring to Disney that don't include the successful approach of a widely trusted company veteran.

Posted by: Alex Wainer