Disney names new chair as home of Mickey Mouse prepares for boardroom battle
Walt Disney has named Nike veteran Mark Parker as its next chair while snubbing activist investor Nelson Peltz, who the company declined to nominate as a director.
This comes after the multimedia giant faced demands from activist investor Peltz for a board seat.
Peltz is the head of New York-based Trian Partners, which owns a $900m (£740m) stake in Disney, and has not been nominated for election to the board.
The company has been reluctant to offer Peltz a seat on Disney’s board, and Parker’s appointment is being reported as a way of preparing for the boardroom battle that is likely to ensue.
It comes after Bob Iger returned as CEO in November just a year after retiring to try and get the firm back on track after a tumultuous period.
Parker has previously served as the executive chair for Nike and has been on Disney’s board for the last seven years.
In a statement, the company said that Parker had helped Disney “effectively navigate through a time of unprecedented change”.
Peltz, on the other hand, has a reputation for boardroom battles, and taking seat demands straight to investors. In 2018, he forced his way to a director’s seat at consumer product manufacturing firm Procter & Gamble.
Peltz, who yesterday released a 35-page report on his concerns with Disney’s strategy, has criticised the media giant for overspending and failing to turn a profit at its Disney+ streaming service. He has also called for the company, whose shares have fallen almost 40 per cent over the last year, to reinstate dividends by 2025.
In a statement announcing the new CEO, the Disney board said: “The Walt Disney Company and its board of directors have engaged with Mr Peltz numerous times over the last few months, the board does not endorse the Trian Group nominee, and recommends that shareholders not support its nominee, and instead vote FOR all the Company’s nominees.”