The battle for control of Walt Disney has ramped up another notch with a full-scale shareholder revolt against current leader Michael Eisner breaking out.

He was stripped of his role as chairman of the board last night, but kept his position as CEO even after 43 per cent of shareholders voted against him in what Reuters called an "unprecedented protest".

Former US senator George Mitchell has been elected Disney chairman by a board which once again refused Comcast's generous $49 billion takeover bid.

US giant pension fund Calpers believes its time for Eisner to quit: "This discontent is too wide and way too deep in the marketplace, and it has led us to believe that Eisner should go," said Sean Harrigan, president of the board of administration of Calpers.

Eisner insists he'll hang on to his CEO position, but industry observers all agree that this is a wake-up call to Eisner's board.

Eisner's Disney has seen declining stock performance, low ratings at its ABC TV network and the loss of its key distribution deal with Apple CEO Steve Jobs' Pixar animation company.