Ovitz out at Disney

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Michael Ovitz is out as president of the Walt Disney Co. after just over ayear on the job. In a statement, Disney said the decision was mutual, butalso suggested that Mr. Ovitz resigned. He will leave Disney by Jan. 31 butwill continue to serve as an advisor and consultant to the company and theboard of directors.

Disney didn't announce a replacement and said it doesn't plan to fill thepost in the near future. The announcement was issued after the closing ofThursday's stock market.

For months, reports have circulated of a rift bewteen Mr. Ovitz and his boss,Disney CEO Michael Eisner, and of his dissatisfaction with his role withinthe company. He had wanted the long-vacant post of chief operating officerbut Mr. Eisner never gave it to him. In a statement, Mr. Ovitz said: "It isimportant to recognize when something is not working. I hope that my decisionto leave will eliminate an unnecessary distraction for a great company."

Mr. Ovitz, formerly the head of Creative Artists Agency, is reportedly beingpursued by Sony Corp. for a high-ranking post, although Sony denies that ithas been wooing the Disney exec.

Copyright December 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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