Bob Iger’s next big challenge at Disney is activist investor Nelson Peltz

Bob Iger will face another challenge as CEO of Disney (DIS) – activist investor Nelson Peltz.

On Wednesday, Disney announced that Nike executive chairman Mike Parker would take over Susan Arnold’s position as chairman of the board, and also recommended shareholders vote against Peltz in his bid to win a board seat. of administration of the company.

“While senior management of The Walt Disney Company and its Board of Directors have spoken with Mr. Peltz on several occasions over the past few months, the Board does not endorse the Trian Group nominee and recommends that shareholders not not support its nominee and instead vote FOR all of the company’s nominees (listed above),” Disney wrote in a press release Wednesday.

Peltz, who also has an activist campaign with Unilever and is chairman of Wendy’s, now plans to launch a proxy battle, according to the Wall Street Journal, directly appealing to Disney shareholders to win their support for a spot on the Disney board. the society.

Peltz’s Trian Fund Management acquired an $800 million stake in Disney in November. The hedge fund, which frowned on Iger’s surprise return, would push for further cost cuts and a post-Iger successor — which the company also wants.

Trian did not immediately respond to Yahoo Finance’s request for comment.

Nelson Peltz, founding partner of Trian Fund Management LP.  speak at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Nelson Peltz, founding partner of Trian Fund Management LP. speak at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

“It is my top priority and that of the board to identify and groom a successful CEO successor, and that process has already begun,” Parker said in Wednesday’s statement.

Part of this process will be a newly created committee, chaired by Parker, which will advise the board of directors on succession plans, including the review of internal and external candidates.

Disney also doubled down on the decision behind Iger’s surprise return, explaining in the statement, “Mr. Iger’s mandate is to use his two-year tenure and depth of industry experience to adapt the business model to the changing media landscape, rebalancing investment with revenue opportunities while putting a renewed emphasis on the creative talent that has made The Walt Disney Company the envy of the industry.”

“Mr. Iger has already taken decisive steps to realign content creation and distribution, and reposition Disney’s streaming platforms and linear and cable broadcast networks for increased profitability for the company,” the company continued. .

Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger speaks next to the Minnie Mouse character during the unveiling of her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger speaks next to the Minnie Mouse character during the unveiling of her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

In its statement Wednesday, Disney also defended the company’s stock performance under Iger’s watch, noting during his first round as CEO that the company’s total shareholder return totaled 554%, surpassing the total return of 244% achieved by the S&P 500 over this period.

Disney faced a tough 2022 as shares fell around 45%, marking the House of Mouse’s worst annual stock market performance since 1974.

The profitability of streaming, the future of Hulu and a potential ESPN spin-off all hang in the balance as Iger continues to navigate a battered business plagued by leadership challenges, unfavorable price increases and a division. direct to consumers struggling to make a profit.

Alexandra is a senior entertainment and media reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her at alexandra.canal@yahoofinance.com

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