RIP Raymond L. Watson, icon – the Walt Disney Co.
RIP Raymond L. Watson, the real estate planner Southern California corporate icons – the Walt Disney Co. – has died from complications of Parkinson's disease in Newport Beach. He was 86.
Watson's early work caught the eye of Disney founder and creative genius Walt Disney. Watson gave Disney early advice on what would become Florida's Disney World and joined Disney's board of directors in 1974. Watson became Disney's interim chairman in 1983, as corporate vultures circled the then-ailing entertainment firm. Watson led Disney Co. to hire Michael Eisner and Frank Wells for top executive jobs – the two men guided Disney to the global entertainment leadership spot it holds today. Watson retired from Disney in 2004.
"Ray exhibited incredible leadership, sound judgment, and grace under pressure, particularly during the difficult period in the mid-1980s," said Bob Iger, Disney's current CEO.
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