Proxy Monitor, an institutional investor proxy voting advisory service, recommends Walt Disney shareholders withhold votes from Reveta F. Bowers and George J. Mitchell, up for re-election as directors. Voting is scheduled at Disneys annual meeting Feb. 22. Ten of its 16 directors are up for re-election.
Withholding votes for Ms. Bowers and Mr. Mitchell is "a way to send a message to Disney that it needs to have more independent directors, noted James E. Heard, Proxy Monitors CEO, in a statement.
Ms. Bowers is the principal of a school once attended by children of Disneys CEO, Michael Eisner. Mr. Mitchell received consulting fees from the company while serving as a director in 1999, according to Proxy Monitor, citing Disneys proxy statement.
Eight of the 16 directors are independent. But Proxy Monitor considers five of the independent directors less than independent because of ties to Mr. Eisner or contract work theyve done for the company. Proxy Monitor calls for all the directors on the audit, compensation and nominating committees to be truly independent.