Updated April 3rd, 2024 at 23:26 IST

Disney shareholders uphold CEO Bob Iger, board amid activist campaign by some investors

The activist investors aimed to secure five board seats, criticising Disney's handling of its CEO succession planning, creative stagnation, and use of new tech

Reported by: Business Desk
Disney CEO Bob Iger | Image:Disney CEO Bob Iger
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Investors supported Walt Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger and the current board of directors at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, hampering a campaign by billionaire Nelson Peltz and Blackwells Capital.

The activist investors aimed to secure five board seats, criticising Disney's handling of its CEO succession planning, creative stagnation, and utilisation of new technology.

The vote, which saw all 12 board members re-elected, brought to end a contentious battle highlighting differing views on Disney's performance in the streaming-television era.

Peltz stressed on the importance of Disney returning to its core strengths of producing exceptional content and providing value for stakeholders.

After the announcement, Iger said he would refocus efforts on growth, value creation for shareholders, and creative excellence for consumers, after the proxy contest has concluded.

Peltz affirmed Trian Fund Management's commitment to monitoring Disney's performance closely despite the outcome being against their favour.

The parties were embroiled in personal attacks and campaign spends as part of the confrontation for Disney to revitalize its entertainment franchises, streamline its streaming business, and navigate ESPN's digital future.

Peltz bid for board seats for himself and former Disney CFO Jay Rasulo, which was met with pushback from Disney owing to a lack of relevant skills and innovative suggestions.

Peltz retaliated by criticising Disney for its opposition, and asserted that he intends to assist CEO Iger.

Trian Fund Management's sizable stake in Disney contributed to the company's underperformance in comparison to other activist investors last year.

Disney's shares, which peaked in March 2021 amid streaming subscriber gains but later declined due to losses in the streaming division, have shown signs of recovery this year. 

Positive earnings and strategic initiatives, such as investments in Epic Games and partnerships with Fox Corp and Warner Bros Discovery, have bolstered investor confidence.

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Public endorsements for Iger, including from "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, and others, reinforced shareholder support for Disney's leadership.


While proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis backed Disney, Institutional Shareholder Services favoured Peltz, and pension fund giant CalPERS supported Peltz and Rasulo.

(With Reuters Inputs)

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Published April 3rd, 2024 at 23:26 IST