Disney’s Bob Iger wins battle for control and rebuffs shake-up attempts

Disney CEO Bob Iger fended off an attempt to shake up the corporate leadership on Wednesday when the shareholders voted for the company’s preferred slate of board nominees.

The effort to change the board was led by billionaire Nelson Peltz who lost his bid for a seat on the board. Peltz argued for a plan of succession in leadership, better streaming targets to be more “Netflix-like,” and called many of Disney’s goals “amorphous and the execution poor.”

Iger had returned to the company in late 2022 while the company went through numerous challenges, including Hollywood labor strikes, battles with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), and leaked tapes of Disney officials bragging about their efforts to push socially progressive messaging into films and television programming.

“Despite its many advantages, Disney has lost its way,” Peltz’s company, Trian Fund Management, said in its letter to Disney shareholders last fall.

Peltz stated last month that he will “probably” vote for the former President Donald Trump. He has expressed concerns about President Joe Biden’s mental fitness and the immigration crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Disney tried to squash Peltz’s efforts to be added to the board by suggesting that he did not bring media expertise or “strategic ideas.”

In battling Peltz’s effort to change the board, the company created a political-style campaign advertisement in March before the April 3 meeting to urge shareholders against Peltz and to check out their Vote Disney website.

“Disney could suffer the same fate as other great companies that Peltz has previously infiltrated, such as G.E. and DuPont. Nelson Peltz has a long history of attacking companies to the ultimate detriment of shareholder value,” the ad’s announcer ominously said in the Vote Disney campaign ad. The ad was seen online and in television ads.

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Last year was a dismal year for Disney at the box office as it struggled with a string of box office flops of the biggest franchises. Iger later concluded there were likely “too many sequels.”

Iger received 94% of shareholders’ support on Wednesday, denying seats for Peltz and his ally Jay Rasulo, a former chief financial officer at Disney.

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