CalSTRS will vote its almost 5.3 million shares against Walt Disney Co.’s executive compensation and the re-election of Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO, to the board, according to a statement Thursday from pension fund.
“CalSTRS continues to be troubled by the company’s decision to recombine its board chair and chief executive officer positions and the executive pay structures at Disney,” the statement said. “CalSTRS attributes the poor governance structure and compensation plans to an entrenched and insular board that lacks independence from the CEO.”
Anne Sheehan, director of corporate governance at the $157.8 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System, West Sacramento, said in the statement, “Here we go again, sliding back into a governance structure that has already proved detrimental to the company’s long-term growth and to its shareholders’ interests. We’ve been through this fight before, in 2004-05, which resulted in the ouster of then-CEO Michael Eisner and a shareholder revolt that led to the separation of the board chair and CEO positions.”
CalSTRS owns 5,282,341 Disney shares, valued at $263 million and representing 0.3% of the outstanding shares, the statement said.
“Our one year (total shareholder return) was 76.3% compared to 30.2% for the S&P 500,” according to Disney’s proxy statement. “This financial success has translated into strong shareholder returns. Disney’s TSR of 139% over Mr. Iger’s tenure dramatically exceeds the S&P 500’s return of 36% from September 30, 2005, to September 28, 2012.”
“These facts speak for themselves,” Zenia Mucha, Disney spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.
The Disney annual meeting is March 6.