Disney board’s top priority is CEO succession | Trending Viral hub

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One day later disney declared victory over activist investor Nelson PeltzCEO Bob Iger He said the board is proceeding with “urgency” to try to identify the next CEO with the “distraction” of the proxy fight.

“This was decisive in terms of how shareholders voted,” Iger said in a Thursday morning appearance on CNBC from Disney’s headquarters in Burbank, California, about the results of the April 3 meeting.

Succession “is the board’s No. 1 priority,” Iger said, saying the board’s committee to find a CEO successor met seven times in 2023 and plans to meet even more this year. “They’re treating it with a sense of urgency because it’s so important,” Iger said. The board “is taking it very, very seriously” because “I won’t be here forever.” Iger declined to provide a timeline for identifying a new CEO; his contract extension with Disney runs through the end of 2026.

The internal CEO candidates Disney’s board is said to be considering are its four division heads: Disney Entertainment co-chairmen Dana Walden and Alan Bergman, ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro, and Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. The board may also be casting a wider net to consider outside contenders.

Iger, interviewed by CNBC host David Faber, said the insurgency by Peltz’s activist investors did not prompt him or the Disney board to act more quickly on any strategic plan.

“If anything, it was a distraction,” Iger said. He downplayed the effect of the “personal animus” at play in the board fight – referring to former Marvel Entertainment chief Ike Perlmutter, who pooled his 30 million Disney shares with Trian de Peltz – and said he was defending the company and the board of directors, instead of defending himself. “I tried not to consider it a personal attack on me,” he said.

Iger said a positive side to the proxy fight is that it gave the board and some members of Disney’s management team the opportunity to meet and listen to shareholders more actively. “If anything positive came out of this,” he said, it was the ability to increase “engagement with shareholders, and that’s a very good thing.”

Speaking about Disney’s streaming business, Iger reiterated that the company is seeking “double-digit profit margins.” She noted that Disney is launching a Crackdown on password sharing this summer. in some markets before launching more widely in September. He said Hulu on Disney+, the integration of the two services for package subscribers which launched last week, has been performing well. “We know what we need to do to be successful in streaming,” Iger said.

When Disney launches standalone flagship service ESPN in 2025, Iger said, there will be a “huge bundling opportunity” with Disney+ and Hulu. Meanwhile, Iger said the sports streaming package joint venture between Disney, Fox Corp. and Warner Bros. Discovery is moving forward with the belief it will pass regulatory scrutiny. “We think it’s a delight for sports fans,” Iger said, declining to discuss the price of the sports service.

At Disney’s April 3 virtual shareholder meeting, Investors voted in favor of the re-election of the current 12-member board of directors. by a “substantial margin” over candidates nominated by Trian de Peltz and a smaller investment firm, Blackwells Capital, according to Horacio Gutiérrez, senior executive vice president, chief legal and compliance officer at Disney.

According to the preliminary count, Iger obtained 94% of the votes cast in his favor for reelection to the board of directors (Disney shareholders were able to vote their shares for up to 12 nominees). Peltz got 31% of shareholder votes in his favor and Trian’s other nominee, former Disney executive Jay Rasulo, got even less. Maria Elena Lagomasino, the current Disney chief whom Trian had urged investors to remove from the board (along with board member Michael Froman), received 63%, double Peltz’s.

The costly proxy fight waged by Peltz, even though he lost his bid for Disney’s board of directors, managed to highlight investor concerns at the Mouse House, including the CEO succession planning process for replace Iger when his contract eventually expires. 2026. The influential proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services had recommended Disney shareholders elect Peltz to the board, citing in part the company’s CEO’s “failed” succession planning.

Iger said the COVID pandemic had presented his successor as CEO, Bob Chapek, who was ousted in 2022 after less than three years in the role, as a “huge” challenge. The CEO transition four years ago “could not have happened at a worse time” for Disney, Iger said.

In the CNBC interview, Iger said he doesn’t pay attention to comments from Elon Musk, the mega-billionaire owner of X who accused Disney of producing “woke” movies. “People have been coming after me and the company for years,” Iger said. “I don’t get distracted by that.”

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