Eric Eisner to ankle Island post

Eric Eisner has resigned as president and CEO of Island World, effective Monday.

His resignation comes as the indie production company is in talks to form a partnership with a European media company. At the recent American Film Market, the prime candidate for the merger was rumored to be Polygram, although that has not been confirmed. Those talks should be wrapped within the next few weeks, company sources say.

Once those talks are concluded, the focus of the indie production company might be expanded, sources said.

In Eisner’s absence, Mark Burg and Todd Baker will will assume the creative reins at Island World. Among the projects the company has on tap is “The War,” starring Elijah Wood and Kevin Costner, due out from Universal next fall.

The move comes as no surprise, as there had been speculation within the industry that Eisner would be exiting the company (Variety, March 7). The move has been chalked up to a difference in management styles and philosophies.

Eisner was one of four shareholders in the company, including founders John Heyman and Chris Blackwell and Kenin Spivak, managing director. He moved to Island World from the David Geffen Co. in January 1992, as head of all business and creative matters.

Eisner, who could not be reached for comment Monday, said in a prepared statement: “While I am delighted with what we have accomplished in the last two years, both John Heyman and I agree that the direction that I am seeking for myself personally does not mesh with the future plans for the company.”

It is not known where he is going, although there had been rumors that he was negotiating an independent producing deal. Turner Pictures sources have dispelled previous rumors that Eisner might be in line for the top job there.

Originally an attorney at the law firm of Ziffren, Brittenham & Branca, Eisner left to become prexy of the Geffen Co., a position he held for 10 years.