Disney Cites ‘Wrong Conclusion’ by Wall Street Advisory Firm ISS Backing Activist Investor Nelson Peltz’s Bid to Join Board

The Walt Disney Co. March 21 wasted little time denouncing a same-day report from Wall Street proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services that backs activist investor Nelson Peltz joining the media giant’s board of directors. The proxy firm rejected adding Peltz’s co-board nominee, former Disney CFO Jay Rasulo, among others.

Peltz contends that Disney’s stock, under the direction of CEO Bob Iger, has underperformed, losing billions on a streaming-centric strategy, among other missteps.

Disney shareholders are meeting April 3 to vote on a new board of directors, among other company matters.

“While we’re heartened to see support for [current] board member Michael Froman and ISS’s recommendation to withhold on dissident directors Jay Rasulo and the Blackwells’ nominees, we strongly believe that ISS reached the wrong conclusion in its recent report when it comes to adding Nelson Peltz to the board,” Mark Parker, chairman of Disney’s board, said in a statement.

“In contrast to Glass Lewis, ISS fails to acknowledge … the strong recent performance and results overseen by the Disney board that demonstrate our focus on long-term shareholder value creation and succession planning an our commitment to good governance practices,” Parker said.

Earlier this month, separate proxy advisor Glass Lewis recommended Disney shareholders support of all of the media giant’s 12 board member nominees, including CEO Bob Iger, (excluding Peltz, and others) at the upcoming annual shareholder meeting.

“Star Wars” creator George Lucas earlier this week threw his support to Iger, who in 2012 orchestrated Disney’s $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm.

“Creating magic is not for amateurs,” Lucas said in a statement. “I remain a significant shareholder because I have full faith and confidence in the power of Disney and Bob’s track record of driving long-term value. I have voted all of my shares for Disney’s 12 directors and urge other shareholders to do the same.”