Abigail Disney, Fierce Iger Critic, Changes Tune In Huge Way

Abigail Disney Backs Bob Iger
Credit: Disney/ABC

On April 3, Disney shareholders and fans will learn if leadership at Disney is changing. We aren’t talking about Bob Iger, but Disney’s Board of Directors, which Iger is on. Shareholders are currently casting their votes on who they want to have on the board and who they trust to be in charge. This vote will be an incredibly important one, considering the company — and Iger — is facing some serious challenges, with the biggest fight coming from a billionaire who seems hellbent on a hostile takeover.

bob iger and Disney

Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Lands Huge Blow as Billionaire Investor Attempts Hostile Takeover

Nelson Peltz is one of the founders and owners of Trian Partners, a hedge fund. Trian Partners has millions of dollars in Disney shares, but Peltz has decided that that’s not enough and wants more. Peltz does not think that Disney is doing enough to make money for its shareholders, and he wants to change that. He wants to snag two seats on the Board of Directors to have more say.

Nelson Peltz

Credit: CNBC

Iger and Disney, on the other hand, want to keep Mr. Peltz as far away as possible. The company has accused Peltz of being deceptive, claiming he wants the board seats so fired Marvel executive Ike Perlmutter will have more power over the company that fired him. Most of Trian’s shares in Disney belong to Perlmutter, whom Disney has accused of having a “vendetta” against them.

Iger and Disney have been doing everything in their power to convince shareholders to vote against Nelson Peltz and Jay Rasulo, the former CFO of Disney. And they have just received a HUGE boost.

activist investor nelson peltz walt disney company

Credit: YouTube – Bloomberg Wealth

On February 29, Walt and Roy O. Disney’s grandchildren and other family members signed and shared a letter, putting their full support behind Bob Iger. They said that Bob Iger is “faithful to this magic.”

An Open Letter to Shareholders of The Walt Disney Company

As the grandchildren of Roy O. Disney, we grew up with a front row seat to the magic that fuels the remarkable company he and his brother Walt Disney built together. We spent our childhoods on the studio lot watching movies get made. We explored Disneyland with the creative geniuses behind the happiest place on earth. We saw the passion Walt and Roy had for creating life-long memories for children and families, and the infectous joy they got out of the work they did.

From Mickey and Minnie, to Snow White and Mary Poppins, Disney is not a company that makes widgets – it makes magic. And it takes a special group of leaders with a deep respect and understanding for this tradition to develop the kinds of incredible experiences – whether in a theme park, at a movie theatre, or in your own home – that touch people’s hearts.

Bob Iger, his management team, and the Board of Directors are faithful to this magic. They understand that the longevity of The Walt Disney Company isn’t only the result of smart business decisions; it is rooted in the strong emotional connection Disney continues to forge with generations of people from around the globe.

We may not agree about everything, but we know that our grandfather would be especially proud of what Disney means to the world today. We also know that, like us, he would be very concerned by the threat posed by self-anointed “activist investors” who are really wolves in sheep’s clothing, just waiting to tear Disney apart if they can trick shareholders into opening the door for them.

What concerns us most about these hedge-fund-backed opportunists is that they have little to no knowledge of what Disney truly means to people like you. They haven’t made any arguments for why they should be entrusted with the keys to the kingdom our family built. To the contrary, their “I alone can fix it” mentality makes clear that they are not interested in preserving the Disney magic, but stripping it to the bone to make a quick profit for themselves.

Abigail Disney

Credit: Web Summit, Flickr

Related: Abigail Disney ARRESTED!

What makes this letter particularly significant is that one of the signatories was none other than Abigail Disney, Walt’s grandniece. Abigail Disney has always been very critical of Bob Iger. She said that the two don’t have a relationship, and she has frequently called out Disney, accusing the company of exploiting its workers.

bob iger disney parks

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

The Disney family does not believe that Nelson Peltz is interested in keeping the magic alive. And they don’t appear to be far off. When talking about changes he wants to make to the company, Peltz typically focuses on money and making money for shareholders. He doesn’t talk about the guest experience or how he can make things better.

In response to the open letter from the Disney family, Trian released a statement to The New York Times:

“We love Disney and recognize building on its rich history of delighting loyal fans is essential to its future success. Trian invests in great companies like Disney and helps them grow and thrive for the long term — and we have the track record to prove it at companies like P&G, Heinz and Mondelez.”

mickey and minnie mouse with bob iger

Credit: YouTube/ABC 7

Walt and Roy’s grandchildren are not the only ones who are fighting against Peltz. Blackwells Capital — another hedge fund company with a lot of Disney stock — threw their support behind CEO Bob Iger. Blackwells pointed out that Mr. Peltz once packed the board at Wendy’s, the fast-food chain, and the company’s share price dropped dramatically.

As stated above, Disney will reveal its shareholders’ voting results on April 3.

What do you think of Abigail Disney supporting Bob Iger? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

One comment

  1. I have shres of Disney Stock and have returned my proxy vote to the corporation already. I gave my vote to to Peltz becuase of Iger’s refusal to completly remove the company from the political arena that has caused great damage to the brand and bottom line. Disney must stay out of devisive politics on both sides. Picking a side is bad for business because while it pleases one side it alienates the other side. The goal is to NOT ALIENATE anyone!

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