Disney shareholders reject investor Nelson Peltz’s bid for Board of Directors

Disney CEO Bob Iger at Museum of Modern Art in New York on January 23^ 2024

At Disney’s virtual 2024 meeting of shareholders on Wednesday, members rejected nominees allied with activist investor Nelson Peltz‘s effort to win seats on their Board of Directors. Peltz, 81 who heads investment firm Trian Partners, failed to get enough votes in his favor to clinch a board seat (as did Trian’s other nominee, ex-Disney Jay Rasulo).

The company announced that the majority of shareholders voted in support of a 12-person slate of board nominees put forward by Disney (including CEO Bob Iger), ending a months-long proxy battle centered on the company’s navigation of the onset of the streaming era. Trian Partners had leveraged its standing as one of Disney’s largest shareholders to carry out a high-profile campaign critical of the company’s growth strategy. Peltz sought board seats for himself as well as former Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo, calling on shareholders to deliver them the seats currently held by Maria Elena Lagomasino and Michael Froman.

Per Variety, preliminary results show that Iger won reelection with 94% of the votes cast in his favor, with Peltz receiving just 31% and Rasulo much less. Maria Elena Lagomasino, the incumbent Disney director, received twice as many votes as Peltz and five times as many as Rasulo. Investors voted on three competing board candidate slates — Disney’s own recommended 12-member lineup; Trian’s nominees, Peltz and Rasulo; and three from investment firm Blackwells Capital, which also did not get enough votes to win board seats.

Iger said in a statement: “I want to thank our shareholders for their trust and confidence in our board and management. With the distracting proxy contest now behind us, we’re eager to focus 100% of our attention on our most important priorities: growth and value creation for our shareholders and creative excellence for our consumers.”

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