Disney Gadflies Buzzing Again
Once again there's discontent brewing at Disney (DIS), though it's a much milder strain than the one that nearly tore the media company apart last winter.
Disgruntled former directors Roy Disney and Stanley Gold said Tuesday they would withhold their votes for board members at the company's annual meeting this week. But unlike last year, when Gold and Disney spearheaded a no-confidence effort targeting certain Disney board members, the two ex-directors said they hadn't conducted a campaign to ask other shareholders to withhold their votes for the complete slate.
The announcement, combined with relatively muted criticism of Disney's board from other quarters, heralds a Disney annual meeting likely to be less contentious than the splenetic scene that unfolded at last March's annual meeting in Philadelphia. At that meeting, an unprecedented 45.2% of votes were withheld for CEO Michael Eisner's re-election to Disney's board. That vote led to Eisner's replacement as chairman by then-presiding director George Mitchell, who had received a 25.6% "withhold" vote himself.
This year's meeting is slated to start at 11 a.m. EST Friday at the Minneapolis Convention Center.In their statement Tuesday, Disney -- the nephew of Disney founder Walt -- and Gold said their vote this year rests on the question of whether Disney's board has adequately addressed the issues raised by the no-confidence vote at last year's meeting. The key to answering whether the board has reformed itself, say the ex-directors, lies in how it conducts and implements the search for Eisner's successor as CEO. The board
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