Dick Cook is Out at Disney

ON

Just a week after he made some big announcements at the D23 Expo, Dick Cook is no longer chairman of the Walt Disney Studios. Cook and The Walt Disney Company President and CEO Bob Iger both released statements. First up is Cook:

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. 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.”

And the statement from Bob Iger:

Throughout his distinguished 38-year Disney career, Dick Cook’s outstanding creative instincts and incomparable showmanship have truly enriched this company and significantly impacted Disney’s great legacy,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger. “We thank Dick for his tremendous passion for Disney, and his many accomplishments and contributions to The Walt Disney Studios, including a very promising upcoming film slate. On behalf of everyone at Disney, we wish him the best with all the future has to offer.”

Johnny Depp also shared his reaction about Dick Cook leaving the studio with the Los Angeles times. Depp said he is “shocked and very sad” because Cook was the reason he signed on to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films and that Cook was his biggest supporter when other executives didn’t agree with how Depp was playing the role on set. He also commented on the fourth “Pirates” movie, which Cook revealed just last week would be titled Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and be released Summer 2011:

As for the fourth planned “Pirates” movie, Depp said while he has a potential deal in place that will depend on how good the script is, his passion for the project at the moment has been severely dampened by the news that Cook will no longer be around.

“There’s a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment,” Depp said. “It was all born in that office.”