At the Walt Disney Company Annual Shareholders meeting today several proxy measures were put forth and voted on. All of them struck down, but there’s a bigger issue at hand: have investors lost faith in Bob Iger? If the voices heard today are to be believed, then it certainly seems that way.
One proposal suggested Iger’s capitulation to China was a human rights violation, and therefore the board should remove Iger. Another suggested that Disney’s claims of charitable donations are potentially misleading and that Disney owes investors a full accounting of where donations go. The third measure suggested that Disney disclose all political campaign contributions due to Disney’s past contributions to candidates that “do not share the company’s ideals.”
Rather than niche opinions of potentially extreme individuals, these proposals are echoed in sentiments seen all over the internet by shareholders and fans alike. That begs the question: are the tides turning on Bob Iger? The measures were all voted down today (at the behest of the board) but visit anywhere Disney fans and shareholders gather, and you’ll see these opinions repeated over and over again. Could the honeymoon phase with Iger be over already?
This isn’t the first proxy battle Disney has had to contend with since Iger took the helm. Not long ago, activist investor Nelson Peltz attempted a coup. It was over in February before it really even began, but it certainly signaled the beginning of trouble in the waters. Now we wonder how long it will be until the next potential coup attempt. If today’s meeting is any indicator… it will be sooner rather than later.
It’s worth noting here that Iger’s first and second stints as CEO have resulted from a coup to some degree or another. Eisner was forcibly replaced by Iger in 2005. Then Iger was brought back after a desperate plea to save Disney from Chapek in 2022. When waters at the Walt Disney Company get rough, the current CEO has always fared well. Could there be a similar move against him in the near future?