Los Angeles Business Journal

Disney Shareholders Reject Call to Split Executive Roles

By Deborah Crowe Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Shareholders of Walt Disney Co. sided with management at the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday, nixing a proposal to separate the jobs of chief executive and chairman after Bob Iger retires in 2016.

Meeting in Phoenix, shareholders of the Burbank entertainment giant also re-elected the board and endorsed executive compensation packages. Disney’s board last year made changes to its compensation formulas to tie pay and bonuses more directly to performance.

Earlier, Connecticut State Treasurer Denise Nappier, acting on behalf the state's employee retirement funds, had proposed that Disney’s board split the chief executive and chairman jobs in three years. The proposal was endorsed by two major proxy advisory firms, the California State Teachers' Retirement System and other institutional investors.

The two proxy firms, ISS and Glass Lewis & Co., also had recommended that shareholders vote against the executive pay plans for Iger and his team.

Iger has been chief executive since 2005 but was only given the chairman’s title last year by a vote of the board. His predecessor as chief executive, Michael Eisner, had been stripped of the chairman’s title in 2004 following an investor revolt.

Disney’s is in measurably better shape today. Eisner noted in his opening remarks at the meeting that Disney shares had closed at all-time high of $56.48 on Tuesday and its earnings per share last year hit a record $3.13.

Disney shares closed down 12 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $56.36 on the New York Stock Exchange.