Disney, Gold Pile Pressure on Disney Brass

10 February 2005

The top brass of the Walt Disney Company just can't avoid the headlines these days.

Not content with recently parading their sores in a high profile lawsuit over the hiring and firing of Michael Ovitz, the Disney board made the front pages again this week in a recital of alleged rifts between ceo Michael Eisner and president Robert Iger [WAMN: 09-Feb-05].

And now the board is the target of a new attack by rebel shareholders and former co-directors Roy E Disney and Stanley Gold.

The duo announced Tuesday their intention to withhold their block votes - totalling thirty million shares - for the re-election of all directors, thereby marking their lack of confidence in the board's search to replace Eisner, who will step down in June.

Read a joint statement: "At this point in time, the board's credibility is in question. We are waiting to see whether this board has the independence and dedication to its stockholders to conduct an open and honest search for a new leader with the vision and creativity to meet the challenges ahead."

"We are withholding our vote because we are withholding final judgment," said the pair. "In recent months the board has been saying the right words. We now await its actions."

The company's annual meeting will be held in Minneapolis on Friday.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff