Disney and CEO Bob Iger Triumph Over Hedge Funds and Investor Nelson Peltz, After Fierce Board Fight


Hedge fund investors who sought seats on Disney’s board have been defeated.

Disney secured enough votes from shareholders at its annual meeting on Wednesday to win a high-profile board fight against 81-year-old billionaire Nelson Peltz, founder and CEO of Trian Fund Management, and Jay Rasulo, the former chief financial officer of Disney.

Disney’s 12 recommended nominees were elected by shareholders “by a substantial margin” over Trian and Blackwells’ 5 combined nominees, Horacio Gutierrez, senior executive vice president of Disney, announced at the shareholder meeting at around 10:22 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

1712165758 Bob Iger GettyImages 2005959370Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, on February 12, 2024. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)

Disney CEO Bob Iger called the matter “this distracting proxy business” after the outcome was announced, and stated that Disney was now “eager” to keep focusing on driving value for shareholders.

Related: Hedge Fund Billionaire and Disney Investor Nelson Peltz Published 133 Pages on How Disney Should Change

Peltz and Rasulo launched a months-long, multimillion-dollar campaign to secure seats on Disney’s 12-person board. Peltz has contested Disney’s business choices and recently spoke to the Financial Times about his opinions against the casting in recent Disney films.

At the board meeting, Peltz spoke for about three minutes and said, “There is no doubt that Disney is an iconic company… All we want is for Disney to get back to making great content.”

Peltz pointed out that this was the second time he was vying for a board position, referring to another attempt last year that he called off, and stated that regardless of the outcome of the vote, Trian would be watching Disney’s performance.

Peltz was interrupted and informed that he was out of time by Gutierrez before he finished giving his statement.

Related: Here’s What Disney CEO Bob Iger Told Employees in a Town Hall Address

A March video from Disney called Peltz’s ambitions “more about vanity than a belief in Disney” and Rasulo “a former Disney employee who was passed over for a promotion nearly a decade ago.” Rasulo stepped down from the Disney CFO position in 2015.

Blackwells Capital, another hedge fund, also nominated three candidates, Craig Hatkoff, Jessica Schell, and Leah Solivan, to the board of directors, according to the annual meeting notice.

Gutierrez announced at the shareholder meeting that Disney did not endorse the nominees from Trian or Blackwell.

Disney instead proposed 12 directors to the board who were ultimately voted in by shareholders: Mary T. Barra, Safra A. Catz, Amy L. Chang, D. Jeremy Darroch, Carolyn N. Everson, Michael B.G. Froman, James P. Gorman, Robert A. Iger, Maria Elena Lagomasino, Calvin R. McDonald, Mark G. Parker, and Derica W. Rice.

Each board director holds the position for one year.

See the annual meeting notice and proxy statement here.



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