Connecticut, CalPERS join CalSTRS in urging Disney to split chairman, CEO roles
By Rick Baert | February 28, 2013 5:43 pm
Connecticut state Treasurer Denise Nappier filed a shareholder resolution on behalf of the state's pension funds at The Walt Disney Co. seeking to separate the company's CEO and chairman positions, both currently held by Robert A. Iger.
In a statement on the state's website Thursday, Ms. Nappier said the resolution is similar to one she filed in 2004 seeking to split the two positions under then-CEO Michael Eisner. That resolution was approved but was changed in 2011 when Mr. Iger, who replaced Mr. Eisner as CEO, was also appointed as board chairman in a decision that “strongly suggests that shareholder input was intentionally avoided,” Ms. Nappier said in the statement.
“The board's shortsighted and potentially destabilizing action brings the potential for Disney to return to a time of imperial CEO leadership, unaccountable CEO compensation and lackluster company performance,” Ms. Nappier said.
Ms. Nappier is sole trustee of the $26 billion Connecticut Retirement Plans & Trust Funds, Hartford, which holds more than 600,000 shares of Disney with a combined value of $30 million as of Dec. 27.
In a separate statement Thursday on its global governance website, the $253.2 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, said it supports calls for a separate chairman and CEO at Disney. CalPERS holds 5.65 million shares of Disney.
Earlier this month, the $157.8 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, West Sacramento, said it would vote its almost 5.3 million shares against Disney's executive compensation and the re-election of Mr. Iger to the board. Ms. Nappier in her statement said she supports the CalSTRS initiative.
“The facts are irrefutable: Disney delivered record net income, revenue and earnings per share and exceptional shareholder returns in fiscal 2012,” according to a Disney statement. “Total shareholder return for the year was 76.3%, compared to 30.2% for the S&P 500. Disney's performance during Mr. Iger's tenure has been nothing short of spectacular.”
Disney's annual meeting is scheduled for March 6.