Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Walt Disney Company on Wednesday called Mark Parker, the executive chairman of Nikethe next board chairman, while also announcing that it will oppose activist investor Nelson Peltz’s bid to join the board.
Disney’s announcements come nearly two months after Peltz’s Trian Fund Management took an approximately $800 million stake in the company and began seeking a board seat. Trian reportedly wants to make operational improvements and reduce costs, and has opposed Bob Iger’s re-appointment as CEO of Disney.
“While senior management of The Walt Disney Company and the Board of Directors have met with Mr. Peltz numerous times in recent months, the Board does not endorse the Trian Group nominee and recommends that shareholders do not endorse the nominee and instead to vote for all of the company’s nominees,” Disney said in its release Wednesday.
Peltz will respond with a request later Wednesday, CNBC’s David Faber reported.
Parker succeeds Susan Arnold, whose 15-year term expires at the company’s next annual shareholder meeting. The date for the meeting has not yet been announced. Disney’s board is reduced to 11 members following Arnold’s departure.
“During his four decades with Nike, Mark has guided one of the world’s most recognized consumer brands through several market evolutions and a successful CEO transition, and he is uniquely positioned to chair the Disney Board during this period of transformation,” said Arnold in a statement Wednesday. Parker has been a member of Disney’s board of directors for seven years. Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Iger’s stunning return in November came with the promise of a two-year period that would spur renewed growth. The CEO also plans to help find his next successor, after the tenure of his previous hand-picked replacement, Bob Chapek, fell apart.
Disney announced company-wide cost-cutting measures earlier in November, including a ban on all but essential work travel and a freeze on new hires for all but a few critical positions. Iger maintained that hiring freeze when he returned to the helm of the company later that month.
“Mr. Iger’s mandate is to use his two-year tenure and deep industry experience to adapt the business model to the changing media landscape, rebalancing investment with revenue opportunities while placing a renewed focus on the creative talent that made The Walt Disney Company the envy of the industry,” the company said.