Activist billionaire Nelson Peltz is launching a proxy campaign to get a seat on the board of the Disney Corporation—earning him acrimony from the board of directors.
- Disney’s board of directors continues to face leadership shakeups and stress following the abrupt ousting of CEO Bob Chapek for returning CEO Bob Iger.
- The board recently announced the departure of 15-year board Chair Susan Arnold, as the position has a 15-year term limit.
- On Thursday, January 12, activist investor Nelson Peltz began a fight that could place him on the board of directors. Trian Partners nominated him as a candidate for the board of directors, launching what Bloomberg calls an “all-out war against the company.”
- The company responded in a shareholder letter on Tuesday, January 17, saying, “Peltz does not understand Disney’s businesses and lacks the skills and experience to assist the board in delivering shareholder value in a rapidly shifting media ecosystem.”
Why It’s News
Peltz is launching a war against Disney’s board of directors at a particularly vulnerable moment. Disney suffered a year of severe losses in 2022, which resulted in the ousting of the current CEO for 15-year veteran Bob Iger, who had previously led the company to the peak of the entertainment industry, bought Star Wars and 20th Century Fox, and launched Disney+.
The company has proceeded to hemorrhage money since. Iger has not turned the company around in the two months since he returned, although the board is giving him time to implement ideas. This has left the company in a vulnerable position, which Peltz appears to be taking advantage of to earn himself a seat on the board. Trian claimed its nomination would help “restore the magic” of a company dealing with numerous “self-inflicted” injuries—noting the company’s overpaid leadership and leadership crisis.
Disney has criticized Peltz and Trian for making strong accusations against the company without offering solutions to fix the company’s billion-dollar hemorrhaging problems.
Backing Up A Bit
Peltz is a billionaire, a chairman on the boards of Wendy’s Company, Sysco, and The Madison Square Garden Company, and a significant fundraiser for former President Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign. He is 80 years old.
As Fortune notes, Peltz’s nomination is supported by eccentric former Marvel CEO and Trump donor Isaac Perlmutter. Several board members have also expressed interest in Peltz returning as well.
Santa Clara University Assistant Professor Jo-Ellen Pozner notes that the move “hearkens back to the days of swashbuckling corporate raiders,” showing a more cutthroat approach to corporate success than the more “genteel shareholder proposals” advanced by the current directors. “It feels like a throwback to the 80s.”