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[UPDATED] Walt Disney studio chief Dick Cook resigns

September 18, 2009 |  5:17 pm

Updated with Iger statement.

Walt Disney Co. studio chief Dick Cook, whose studio has come under intense scrutiny for the quality of its films, held a staff meeting today to say that he was resigning.

He told staff that he felt he was a square peg in a round hole.

"I am stepping down from my role as chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, effective immediately. I have loved every minute of my 38 years that I have worked at Disney … from the beginning as a ride operator on Disneyland’s steam train and monorail to my position as chairman of the Walt Disney Studios. To wrap up my Disney experience in a neatly bundled statement is close to impossible," Cook said in a statement.  "But what I will say is, during my time at the Studio, we have achieved many industry and company milestones. Our talent roster is simply the best in the business. I believe our slate of upcoming motion pictures is the best in our history. But most of all, I love the people, my colleagues, my teammates, who are the most talented, dedicated and loyal folks in the world. I know that I leave the studio in their exceptional hands. I have been contemplating this for some time now and feel it’s the right time for me to move on to new adventures … and in the words of one of my baseball heroes, Yogi Berra, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger said, "Cook's outstanding creative instincts and incomparable showmanship have truly enriched this company and significantly impacted Disney's great legacy."

Iger was not nearly as magnanimous toward Cook on an earnings call earlier this year when he was  critical of the studio's slate and development.

Update (Saturday, 12:05 AM): For more, read the story in Saturday's Times.

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

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