Rift over funding prompted resignation of Fisker founder : sources

DETROIT, Tue Mar 19, 2013 — The abrupt resignation of Fisker Automotive’s founder Henrik Fisker was prompted by disagreements with the company’s CEO over funding and operational strategy, two people familiar with the matter said.

Friction between Fisker and CEO Tony Posawatz came to a head as the cash-strapped “green car” start-up stepped up efforts to find a financial backer to buy a stake and help build its second model, the Atlantic plug-in hybrid, the sources said.

Fisker left last week at a sensitive time for the company, which has been in strategic talks with China’s Geely, the owner of Sweden’s Volvo, and state-owned Dongfeng Motor Group Co. Geely has since bowed out of bidding process, sources have said, though they added the decision was not related to Fisker’s resignation.

While both executives agreed that the company needed a strategic partner after the rocky, delayed introduction of the $100,000 plus Karma plug-in hybrid, they were at odds over whether to rely on federal funds and the extent of the financing needed.

Disney film studio chief Ross steps down; run included ‘John Carter’ flop

LOS ANGELES, Fri Apr 20, 2012 – Rich Ross has stepped down as chairman of Walt Disney Co’s. movie studio after a less than three-year run that included the release of “John Carter,” one of the biggest flops in recent Hollywood history.

Ross, named to the job in October 2009, was never able to duplicate the success he enjoyed as president of the Disney Channel, where he was credited with creating monster franchises that included “High School Musical” and “Hannah Montana.”

“I no longer believe that the Chairman role is the right professional fit for me,” Ross told his staff in an e-mail.

Disney will not immediately name a new head for its studio, a source familiar with the matter said.

In a statement, Disney CEO Bob Iger said: “For more than a decade, Rich Ross’ creative instincts, business acumen and personal integrity have driven results in key businesses for Disney. … I appreciate his countless contributions throughout his entire career at Disney and expect he will have tremendous success in whatever he chooses to do next.”

As the company’s studio chief, Ross approved production of “John Carter,” an expensive science-fiction epic whose development started years earlier. The film’s costs eventually ballooned to more than $250 million.

Disney said in March it expected the film to lose about $200 million and to saddle its studio with $80 million to $120 million in operating losses.

Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang resigns; had been under fire

SAN FRANCISCO  ―Yahoo Inc. co-founder Jerry Yang has quit the company he started in 1995, appeasing shareholders who had blasted the Internet pioneer for pursuing an ineffective personal vision and impeding investment deals that could have transformed the struggling company.

Yang’s abrupt departure comes two weeks after Yahoo appointed Scott Thompson its new CEO, with a mandate to return the once-leading Internet portal to the heights it enjoyed in the 1990s.

Wall Street views the exit of “Chief Yahoo” Yang as smoothing the way for a major infusion of cash from private equity, or a deal to sell off much of its 40 percent slice of China’s Alibaba, unlocking value for shareholders.

Shares of Yahoo gained 3 percent in after-hours trade.

“Everyone is going to assume this means a deal is more likely with the Asia counterparts,” Macquarie analyst Ben Schacter said. “The perception among shareholders was Jerry was more focused on trying to rebuild Yahoo than necessarily on maximizing near-term shareholder value.

“It certainly seems things are coming to a head as far as realizing the value of these assets.”

Yang, who is severing all formal ties with the company by resigning all positions including his seat on the board of directors, has come under fire for his handling of company affairs dating back to an aborted sale to Microsoft in 2008.

Yang’s exit comes roughly a month before dissident shareholders can nominate rival directors to Yahoo’s board.