Recode has obtained the final draft of a letter written by former President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company Robert Wills, who served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Disney Corporation from 1984 until 1999.
Wills’ letter was written in 1997 after Disney sold off the company to 21st Century Fox, which he left in 2016 to take a new position as president and CEO at the Walt Hollywood Studios.
In the letter, Wills discusses his own experiences working with the Disney brand, how the Walt brand has changed over time and what he considers its most important assets.
As an executive, Wils has had the unique opportunity to work with some of the greatest artists in history and he shares the stories behind some of his greatest hits, including the iconic ‘Star Wars’ films.
He shares some of those stories in his letter, including his love of ‘Star Trek,’ how he learned to be a filmmaker, and how he developed his vision for ‘Star Tours.’
He also talks about the challenges that the Walt Studios faced in the 1990s, as well as what he would have done differently if he had the chance to return to the studio.
He describes the challenges he faced when Disney purchased the company, and he discusses how the acquisition made the company a much bigger company.
In the letter he describes how Disney has changed since he first arrived in Walt Disney Studios.
Willing was a big believer in the idea that the future of Disney would be driven by the creativity of its artists and their talent.
He described how this is the only way that Disney could continue to grow as a company.
But as the company has become a bigger company, he notes, Disney has been unable to find a path forward for artists, who he says have been unable and unwilling to create in a way that allows the company and its artists to reach their full potential.
The letter goes on to discuss how Disney is in the process of re-launching the Disney Music platform, which Wills says will be able to reach a much wider audience.WILLS SAYS THAT HE HAD NO REASON TO CHANGE, BUT HE DIDLETS TO RETURN TO THE COUNCIL IN DECEMBER OF 2020