Disney stockholders return CEO Iger and reject activists who wanted to change the firm.

San Francisco — By rejecting activist investor Nelson Peltz's and his associate, former Disney CFO Jay Rasulo, who had sought board seats, Disney shareholders have united behind veteran CEO Robert Iger. The vote took place on Wednesday. It was Peltz and Rasulo who were left out of the company's recommended board of directors.  

In a preliminary proxy statement, the dissident shareholders expressed their desire to see a "successful CEO transition" at Disney and to link executive compensation to performance. Even though they lost, they still felt they had won something after the vote  

They pointed out that Disney has been very busy since Peltz's company, Trian Partners, began pressuring them in late 2023. Since then, the entertainment giant has added new directors, announced new operating initiatives, and plans to improve its theme parks.  

According to Trian, Disney's stock has been the top performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average so far this year, with a 50% increase over the past six months. On Wednesday, Walt Disney Co.'s stock price fell 3.1%. The company is headquartered in Burbank, California.  

Disney has set a goal to increase its EBITDA (profits before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) to levels of 15% to 20% by 2027, which the activist group has previously stated as a goal toward achieving "Netflix-like" financial performance.  

That degree of operation is already being maintained by Disney. According to data published by CapitalIQ, Disney had an EBITDA margin of 18% in the quarter ending in December 2023. In the prior fiscal year, which concluded in September, Disney achieved an EBITDA margin of 16.5% based on the same data.

In November 2022, Disney announced that Iger will return to the firm as CEO, succeeding Bob Chapek, whose two years at the helm had been characterized by disagreements, blunders, and declining profits. Chapek had been Iger's personal choice.  

Before passing the torch to Chapek in 2020, Iger served as Disney's public face for fifteen years as chief executive. During that time, Iger achieved a number of successes that were praised by both the entertainment industry and Disney fans. His second attempt at the position, however, has not been met with the same level of success.  

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