Activist Investor Nelson Peltz Reaffirms Call for Disney Board Change While Still Supporting CEO Bob Iger

Activist Investor Nelson Peltz Reaffirms Call for Disney Board Change While Still Supporting CEO Bob Iger

Activist investor Nelson Peltz, whose Trian Group owns more than $3.5 billion worth of Walt Disney Co. common stock, March 25 reaffirmed his call for change in the composition of Disney’ board of directors, advocating for the nomination of himself and former Disney CFO Jay Rasulo at the upcoming shareholders meeting on April 3.

Peltz and Trian contend the Disney is the most consumer-advantaged entertainment company in the world, but that over the past 10 years the media giant has “woefully underperformed,” costing shareholders more than $200 billion in value.

Peltz believes he and Rasulo should replace current board members Maria Elena Lagomasino and Michael B.G. Froman — while maintaining support for CEO Bob Iger.

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Peltz and his backers believe Disney’s problems revolve around the board, which they claim lacks focus, alignment and accountability. In addition, Peltz contends the board members have invested “almost none of their own money” in Disney stock, and have failed to heed investor input.

Specifically, the activist says the Disney board failed shareholders by installing Bob Chapek as CEO in 2020 following the abrupt departure of Iger without appropriate vetting or oversight.

“The board then renewed Chapek’s contract just months before firing him for poor performance. Ultimately, the board had to call Iger out of retirement to fill the void,” Peltz and Trian wrote in a press release.

Peltz contends the board election is not about Iger, whom he emphasized is admired and respected by service providers and advisors.

“This campaign is not about Iger, nor is it a referendum on his leadership,” Peltz wrote. “That Disney spends so much time and ink defending Iger — while saying almost nothing about the two director candidates whose reelection Trian is challenging — is both troubling and telling.”

The investor said he and Rasulo (who held the CFO position for five years) would work collaboratively with board members.

Notably, in 2019, at the bequest of Iger, Peltz was asked to address the Disney board in a discussion all parties said was “seemingly productive and interactive.”

Peltz and Trian believe that re-electing the current Disney board would lead to more of the same: questionable strategic and capital allocation decisions, poor executive compensation alignment and suboptimal succession planning.

“Voting for change versus more of the same, is really what this election is about,” Peltz wrote.

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