Oh OK, I understand now...for some reason I always thought that the whole Walt-side vs. Roy O. side family conflict was because they had a falling out. I assume it was more because of a clash in ideas of how the company should be run (and of course nephew Roy E. Disney unceremoniously working to remove his cousin Diane Disney Miller’s husband Ron Miller from his long-time position as CEO)?There was never an "estrangement"? Roy stuck with Walt all through everything and briefly took on duties when Walt passed, although there was a transactional time between Walt and Ron Miller, when Card Walker kept things going for a few weeks/months, but that’s not usually counted, just as Roy isn’t.
They might possibly have been thinking about Wells since his name gets tossed around a lot these days as “the one who really ran the company instead of Eisner.” So maybe they were confused by that.* Or maybe they were thinking of Mike Ovitz since a lot of his story at Disney has been seen as being mainly how he was supposed to be the most likely candidate for CEO when Eisner would eventually pass the torch.In terms of CEOs, there are just the five you mentioned, but I wonder if they’re including Frank Wells and Jeffrey Katzenberg in there? When the three came in in 1984 they were widely trumpeted as a team, although Eisner held the reigns. That’s the only thing I can think of that would get us up to a seventh...?
The problem is that many journalists now are simply too young to have covered Disney during the 80s or even the 90s. (Not blaming them, it’s just the way it is). In order to truly, fully understand modern Disney history during these decades (in my opinion) the best way to learn is to hunt down books like Storming the Magic Kingdom, The Keys to the Kingdom, The Disney Touch and Prince of the Magic Kingdom. Also, tracking down old Hollywood-centered articles from this era would involve subscribing to quite a few (now on-line) publications. (Or you could just use Lexus-Nexus or JSTOR, but, once again, quite pricey. ). And all of the books listed above are out of print and can really only be found in libraries, a place that, let’s face it, many of us have not set foot in for a long time.
So the source that most often gets consulted nowadays is James B. Stewart’s book DisneyWar, which was released in 2005. I won’t once more get into why I overwhelmingly despise this book—all I’m going to say is that it wasn’t written with much clarity and even brilliant, seasoned animation producer Don Hahn has commented that much of its information (specifically referring to animation) is suspect at best. Hahn’s own much-lauded documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty was, he’s said in a few interviews, a response to it.
*Frank Wells was a VITAL part of resurrecting the company from 1984 through 1994, his financial and managerial skills were extraordinary, but he was one of THREE people who miraculously brought Walt’s nearly impossible-to-measure contributions back into the public eye.