Disney Says Investor Seeking Board Seat ‘Does Not Understand’ Company

Before he left, Mr. Chapek announced that Disney would “look for every avenue of operations and labor to find savings.” That initiative, though delayed by the upheaval atop Disney, is continuing and expected to include layoffs. One person working on the cost-cutting program at Disney described it as “deep.”

Last week, Disney announced that Mark G. Parker, the executive chairman of Nike, would become Disney’s chairman after the company’s annual meeting of shareholders, replacing Susan Arnold. (Disney has not scheduled its annual meeting, which will be held virtually.) Disney said that Mr. Parker would also lead a newly created committee for succession planning, which will review internal and external C.E.O. candidates.

Mr. Peltz, 80, has repeatedly criticized Mr. Iger, 71, for orchestrating Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets. That purchase, along with the pandemic, loaded Disney with some $45 billion in debt. Mr. Peltz has said that Disney drastically overpaid, a claim that has become central to his push for a board seat.

Disney on Tuesday said the 21st Century Fox assets have played a “critical” role in helping the company transition to streaming. Disney+ was an out-of-the-gate success, in part because it offered “The Simpsons,” which came as part of the Fox deal. The acquisition also brought highly regarded executives — including Dana Walden, who is now Disney’s entertainment television chief — into the Disney fold.

During his previous tenure as chief executive, Mr. Iger expanded Disney’s market capitalization to $231 billion from $49 billion and delivered shareholder returns that far outpaced growth in the S&P 500. Mr. Peltz has described Disney’s performance as lacking under Mr. Iger.

In one of its filings, Disney described repeated interactions with Mr. Peltz and other Trian executives, starting in July 2022. Ultimately, the Disney board on Jan. 10 voted against recommending to shareholders that Mr. Peltz receive a seat. The vote was unanimous; Mr. Iger was not present.

In coming to that decision, the board cited concern about “disruption to Mr. Iger and the management team at a crucial juncture.” The board also focused on “Mr. Peltz’s lack of media or technology industry experience coupled with his repeated focus in his presentation on successful approaches from businesses like Heinz, Procter & Gamble and DuPont, which have little in common with Disney.”

Lauren Hirsch contributed reporting.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com