Glass Lewis Supports Bob Iger and Disney Board of Directors in Proxy Fights

Shannen Ace

Bob Iger in office

Glass Lewis Supports Bob Iger and Disney Board of Directors in Proxy Fights

Glass Lewis, a proxy advisory company, announced their support for The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger and the current Board of Directors amid proxy fights with Trian Partners and Blackwells Capital.

Glass Lewis Supports Disney

Glass Lewis logo

Glass Lewis said in a report released on Monday, March 18 that Disney “is undertaking what we consider to be a credible effort to shift key operational priorities under the leadership of one of the most well-respected CEOs in the industry.”

They added that the 15 months since Iger returned as CEO “have provided management and an incrementally reconstituted board with adequate opportunity to launch a more credible succession program and develop, communicate and execute on several key initiatives which appear to reasonably target acknowledged operational and financial weaknesses at Disney.”

While it remains too early to say with certainty that each of those programs will prove successful, we believe it is similarly too early to suggest there exists adequate cause for investors to support alternate solicitations which may prove significantly less accretive to Disney’s trajectory, by comparison.

Glass Lewis

Trian Partners has nominated their own CEO Nelson Peltz and former Disney CFO Jay Rasulo. Disney has urged shareholders not to vote for Peltz and Rasulo, most recently attacking them in a video on the VoteDisney website.

Glass Lewis said in the report, “[G]iven what we believe is already a credible plan underway for Disney, we struggle to see many of Trian’s intentions as representing a likely net gain for investors.”

Notwithstanding faults in Disney’s prior succession initiative, Trian’s intent to launch a new process is not clearly superior to, and may be heavily duplicative of, Disney’s ongoing effort, which is already tied to a special board committee composed of members we believe to be credible.

Glass Lewis

Blackwells Capital has nominated former Warner Bros. and NBCUniversal executive Jessica Schell, Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Craig Hatkoff, and TaskRabbit founder Leah Solivan.

The Walt Disney Co. gate

In a statement also released on Monday, Disney chairman Mark Parker said, “We are pleased that Glass Lewis recognizes the strength of our highly qualified nominees and supports our plans to return this iconic company to a period of sustained growth and shareholder value creation. In its recommendation, Glass Lewis clearly identifies the strength of the diverse skillsets across our board nominees, the credibility of our succession planning process and recent changes to the board and compensation program and the promise of our recent efforts to bolster growth and value creation to position Disney for the future.”

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon also supports Iger and Disney in the proxy battles.

Shareholders will vote for the Disney Board of Directors during an April 3 meeting.

Source: Variety

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