In early August, Third Point — a hedge fund run by CEO Dan Loeb — bought a lot of Disney stock. Once all was said and done, Third Point had about a 2% ownership in The Walt Disney Company. Loeb wasted no time in making his voice heard, publicly stating that he thought Disney should make ESPN its own entity — an idea that was swiftly shot down by Disney CEO Bob Chapek. Not long after, Loeb backtracked on the ESPN idea, but was still trying to be a force inside The Walt Disney Company.
After weeks of back and forth between Loeb and Disney, it appears that the two have finally come to a tentative agreement — with part of that agreement including adding a tech executive to Disney’s Board of Directors.
News of the agreement was shared by The Hollywood Reporter:
Disney says that it has entered into a support agreement with the hedge fund, which will include “customary standstill, voting and other provisions through Disney’s 2024 Annual Meeting of Shareholders,” per the company.
According to a securities filing, Third Point has agreed to not acquire more than 2% of Disney’s outstanding stock; seek the removal of any board member or or propose any new nominees (that Disney’s board does not also approve of); present any proposals at Disney’s annual meeting; or solicit a proxy or other referendum from other shareholders.
“We have a productive and collegial relationship with Third Point, with whom we share a deep commitment to continue building on Disney’s many successes and increasing shareholder value,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement.
In addition, Disney has named veteran tech executive Carolyn Everson to its board of directors, at Loeb’s recommendation. Everson was most recently president of Instacart, and before that was a senior executive at Facebook, where she led its advertising business. She also worked as COO of Viacom, and as an ad sales executive at Microsoft.
After the announcement was made, Ms. Everson made the following statement.
“I am incredibly excited and honored to join The Walt Disney Company’s Board and work alongside the outstanding directors and extraordinarily talented management team. Disney is a beloved brand with an incredible history that brings joy to millions of consumers around the world and one that has meant so much to me and my family over the years. I am fully committed to helping progress Disney’s strategic priorities at an exciting time for the business and industry at large.”
While Ms. Everson does not have creative experience, she does hold a lot of experience in digital advertising. That experience could be valuable to Disney as it prepares to launch the ad-supported tier of its streaming platform Disney+ on December 8.
While Everson may be helpful when it comes to advertising on Disney+, she is another Board member who does not have experience in the creative aspects of film and television. Disney’s Board of Directors is full of former business executives who have a lot of experience in running companies, but they do not have experience in running creative companies.