Haute 100 Los Angeles Update: Michael Eisner

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Our Haute 100 list details the accomplishments of the most influential people in each of our markets—MiamiNew YorkLos Angeles, and San Francisco. These people continue to make moves, so rather than waiting for the next Haute 100 issue to come out, we thought we’d provide you with regular updates on those Haute 100 members who are making headlines. In today’s business news, rumors are flying about whether former Walt Disney Co. C.E.O. Michael Eisner can save the troubled Tribune Co.

Michael Eisner

Category: Thinkers

Industry: Media

Company: The Tornante Co.

What Made Him Haute: He saved The Walt Disney Co. when he stepped in as chief executive officer from 1984 to 2005. After leaving, he founded the Tornante Co., an investment firm that aids and incubates companies and opportunities in media and entertainment. In ’07, Tornante launched a studio, Vuguru, to produce and distribute videos for the Internet, portable media devices and cell phones.

What Makes Him Haute Now: After saving Walt Disney Co. in the mid-1980s, Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, KTLA-TV Channel 5 and other television, publishing and media properties, is looking to Eisner to do the same for its company, which is currently under bankruptcy-court protection. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the former chief executive at Disney is rumored to become the new chairman of the sinking media company, taking the place of Chicago real estate titan Sam Zell. Discussions about the new executives at Tribune are still preliminary, but Eisner, who was first approached about stepping on board by John Angelo, has reportedly been buying debt in the Tribune Co. After stepping down from Disney, Eisner started his own firm, The Tornante Co., in addition to owning Topps, in partnership with Madison Dearborn Partners, and creating Nickelodeon’s animated series, Glenn Martin, DDS. Eisner’s new book, Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed, will be released on Sept. 14.

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