Walt Disney Co. board members agreed in principal to meet regularly with officials from a group of large public pension funds about improving the company's corporate governance and developing a CEO succession plan, said Maria Grove, spokeswoman for Connecticut state Treasurer Denise L. Nappier. Ms. Nappier attended a meeting with George J. Mitchell, Disney non-executive chairman, and several other Disney directors in New York today.
Ms. Nappier, sole trustee of the $18 billion Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, Hartford, was joined at the meeting by Jack Ehnes, CEO of the $116 million California State Teachers' Retirement System, Sacramento; and Cynthia L. Richson, corporate governance officer for the $58.7 billion Ohio Public Employees' Retirement System, Columbus. Also attending were representatives of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, California Public Employees' Retirement System and North Carolina Retirement System.
The meeting was arranged after Burbank, Calif.-based Disney's annual meeting in March, in which shareholders voted 43.4% against the re-election of Michael D. Eisner, then chairman and CEO, as director. Mr. Mitchell replaced Mr. Eisner as chairman, although Mr. Eisner is still a director and CEO. Statements from CalPERS' board have said the fund is "highly dissatisfied" with the changes because they have not moved far enough to improve leadership and performance. Officials at the other pension funds have expressed similar concerns.