CalSTRS, the Connecticut Retirement Plans & Trust Funds and the New York State Common Retirement Fund announced they will withhold their votes for Michael Eisner, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Co., Burbank, Calif., at the company's annual meeting March 3.
The California State Teachers' Retirement System, Sacramento, is taking the action because of concerns over corporate governance issues and board leadership, according to Sherry Reser, spokeswoman. The $113 billion system holds 8 million shares of Disney stock.
Denise L. Nappier, Connecticut state treasurer, said in a statement she will vote the 534,000 shares of Disney owned by the $18.6 billion, Hartford-based system in favor of the other board members who are up for election.
Alan Hevesi, New York state comptroller and sole trustee of the $118 billion Albany, N.Y.-based Common Fund, said he will not vote the fund's 8.7 million Disney shares in favor of Mr. Eisner, saying the company has not performed well under his stewardship. He also questioned Mr. Eisner's commitment to corporate governance reforms. "I call on Disney directors to separate the positions of chairman and chief executive and to replace Mr. Eisner as soon as possible," Mr. Hevesi said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Mr. Eisner was scheduled to meet today with officials from the five Ohio state pension funds to discuss corporate governance issues, said Michele Kowalik, senior market research analyst at the $58.7 billion Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, Columbus. Officials from the plans met with dissident Disney shareholder Roy Disney on Tuesday. She said OPERS officials will decide Friday or Monday how to vote their 4.6 million Disney shares. The $53 billion Ohio State Teachers Retirement System, Columbus, holds about 3.7 million shares of Disney stock, according to Laura Ecklar, spokeswoman.
John Spelich, a Disney spokesman, was unable to comment by press time.