Disney Shareholders Reject Nelson Peltz’s Board Candidates

Disney shareholders help Bob Iger defeat Nelson Peltz’s power grab.

Disney has officially rebuffed Nelson Peltz and his Trian Fund Management partners attempt to force their way onto the corporate board. Disney confirmed that the challenge from the activist investor group failed during today’s shareholder meeting. The company said that  Disney board directors candidates were safely ahead of Trian’s proposed candidates  by a “substantial margin.” Both Peltz and former Disney CFO Jay Resulo were leading the charge to insert themselves into power. The duo and their allies are not alone as Blackwells Capital’s 3 submissions to the board also fell short. All 12 Disney directors won their spots back afte the most expensive corporate proxy fight in the world.

The company has to feel encouraged by this development. Disney’s current leadership, including CEO Bob Iger just received a massive vote of confidence from the shareholders. The executive has been touting massive cost-saving measures and that work seems to have swayed a few skeptics along the way. Stock prices are up after all this drama around the leadership struggle as well. Different investment groups had their take. But, the results are clear, the shareholders weren’t comfortable with delving into some of the more controversial elements of Peltz and their proposed candidates.

Peltz Argued “Woke” Marvel Movies Were Hurting The Company

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(Photo: Marvel Studios)

Just before the vote got underway, Peltz went out of his way to question Marvel Studios’ strategy over the last decade. In an interview with the Financial Times, the presumptive board challenger targeted Black Panther and Captain Marvel. He asked why there had to be an “all-women” Marvel movie or one completely comprised of Black characters. (For what its worth, the truth of these claims is instantly recognizable as false. There are numerous White charcters in the Black Panther franchise and multiple men, including Samuel L. Jackson, who play a big role in the Captain Marvel movies.) Still, it’s hard to imagine these comments didn’t rattle around in shareholders’ brains.

Addressing the 6th-highest grossing movie in United States history and a billion dollar franchise, the businessman argued against that kind of success. “Why do I have to have a Marvel [movie] that’s all women?,” Peltz wondered. “Not that I have anything against women, but why do I have to do that? Why can’t I have Marvels that are both? Why do I need an all-Black cast?”

Nelson Peltz’s History With Disney

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(Photo: Marvel Studios)

This is far from the first time that Peltz has had disagreement with Disney leadership. Bob Iger explained where some of that animosity might stem from in an interview with CNBC. The most recent power play has a lot to do with old histories at Marvel Studios and beyond. Disney’s current CEO also underlined that Trian Partners has about 75% of its stock owned by Ike Perlmutter. There are some old wounds with the former Marvel executive as well that color this proxy leadership attempt.

“Our filings indicate that both Ike and Nelson were working together to try to encourage the board or convince the board to put Nelson on the board,” Iger began. “They have a relationship that dates back quite some time. We bought Marvel in 2009. I promised Ike the job that he would continue to run Marvel after that. Not forever, necessarily. But after that. 

The CEO continued, “And in 2015 he was intent on firing Kevin Feige who was running Marvel’s studio, the movie making [operation] at the time, and I thought that was a mistake and stepped in to prevent that from happening. I think Kevin is an incredibly, incredibly talented executive that you know, the Marvel track record speaks for itself. And so I moved the moviemaking operation of Marvel out from under Ike into the movie studio under Alan Horn”

Are you surprised by this result? Let us know down in the comments!

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