Michael Eisner, former CEO of Disney and former president of Paramount Studios, will speak to Sarasota audiences next year as part of the 2016 Ringling College Town Hall Lecture Series.
“With his entertainment, business and technology acumen, we felt Michael Eisner was a natural fit,” said Chris Cremer, Town Hall Lecture Series 2016 chairman. “In addition, his insights into the future needs of the entertainment industry are an inspired fit with the mission and goals of the Ringling College of Art and Design and their students.”
Eisner will speak at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Jan. 19. While passes for next year’s lecture series have already sold out, a limited number of tickets will be distributed after Jan. 11. The series is sponsored by the Ringling College Library Association.
Eisner replaces former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres on the series roster, with Peres cancelling due to “unforeseen circumstances.” But the move will certainly attract interest within Southwest Florida’s film community.
Eisner remains best known for his 21-year stint as CEO of Disney, the first CEO for the company who was not part of the Disney family. His time at the company included ups and downs, including the revitalization of the company as an animation giant and television powerhouse with ABC, but also saw shake-ups including an ugly break-up with Jeffrey Katzenburg, who went on to co-found Dreamworks, and the eventual loss of confidence in his leadership, resulting a public shareholder rebuke of his leadership before he left the company.
Of note to the Florida audience, Eisner helped reinvigorate the theme park division, but also was at the helm when the decision was made to close animation studios in Orlando.
After leaving Disney following a 21-year stint at the helm, Eisner founded The Tornante Company, which invests in, acquires, incubates and operates media and entertainment companies.