April 17, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Disney criticizes former Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter's 'difficult history with Bob Iger'

Disney criticizes former Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter's 'difficult history with Bob Iger'

Updated with Trian statement. Activist investment firm Trian Fund Management says it is “disappointed that Disney is running a scorched earth campaign.”

In response to Disney's recent attacks in a weeks-long proxy battle, Trian said Disney's efforts appear “focused on deflecting attention from the board's failures.”

Speaking about one of the personality clashes at the center of the dispute, that between Disney CEO Bob Iger and former Marvel chief Ike Perlmutter, Trian said it was “irrelevant” to the proxy fight. Trian was seeking to elect its co-founder, Nelson Peltz (a Perlmutter ally) and former Disney CFO, Jay Rasulo, to the board. Board elections will be held at Disney's annual shareholder meeting on April 3.

“This election contest is not about Mr. Iger or Mr. Perlmutter,” Trian said. “We do not oppose Mr. Iger's re-election nor his continuation as CEO. Mr. Perlmutter is not on the ballot, is not seeking a seat on the Board of Directors and will not affect the fiduciary responsibilities of our nominees. He owns more than $2.5 billion in Disney stock. He, Like all shareholders, he wants Disney to improve and create value.The relationship between Mr. Iger and Mr. Perlmutter is irrelevant.


Disney's latest foray into a proxy battle with activist investor Trian Fund Management highlights the company's “silent partner” Ike Perlmutter and his “difficult history with Bob Iger.”

This criticism came 20 page slide deck, a follow-up to an anti-Trian video released by Disney earlier this week. The conflict intensifies ahead of Disney's annual shareholder meeting on April 3. The new slide deck, titled “Correcting Trian's Fiction with Facts,” revisits a number of previous arguments, many of which are included in the video. (Trian presented her case in a 130-page white paper earlier this month.)

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However, for Hollywood watchers in particular, Disney's handling of Perlmutter, the former Marvel boss, is interesting. It also cuts a little deeper than previous public comments on the former CEO by Iger and the company.

Perlmutter, who has long been friendly with Trian co-founder and front man Nelson Peltz, has been the company's “silent partner” in efforts to secure board seats for Peltz and former Disney CFO Jay Rasulo, Disney asserts. “Perlmutter's past fraught history with Bob Iger appears to have prompted his collaboration with Peltz to conduct a proxy contest,” the document states, noting that Perlmutter owns about 79% of the shares Peltz “claims to own.”

“Trian neglected to address Perlmutter's difficult and well-chronicled history with Bob Iger and several Disney characters.”
Employees, which is a very important consideration for shareholders, from Disney's point of view. The company “has said little about Perlmutter's role and influence — it is not plausible that Perlmutter would really sit on the sidelines.”

Perlmutter's oversight of Marvel Studio “was cut short in 2015,” the document continues. The parting was “due to his continued hostility to the creative team and strong opposition to expanding the group's output to include films such as… Black Panther And Captain MarvelThese two films grossed $1.3 billion and $1.1 billion at the global box office, respectively.

Ties with Perlmutter were severed completely in March 2023 “as part of the company's cost-cutting program,” the slide deck adds unsentimentally. His alignment with Peltz and the campaign to oust Iger began shortly thereafter.

Rasulo does not escape scrutiny in the recent explosion from Burbank. Disney maintains that the former CFO, who left Disney in 2015 after being passed over for the CEO position, and Peltz “bring no additional skills to Disney's board of directors.” Since Rasulo joined iHeartMedia's board, the company's performance metrics have gotten worse, and the CEO has failed to meet the challenge of legacy radio.

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The executive “has not led” strategy or succession planning at Disney, nor does he have “credible experience in succession planning,” the company says.

Trian made succession a major aspect of her criticism of Disney. Since returning as CEO in November 2022, Iger has repeatedly said that a formal succession planning process is underway and that he will definitely hand over the baton at the end of his current contract in 2026. Trian has noted his multiple reversals of previously announced plans to step down during his initial 14-year tenure as chairman executive, as well as his decision to hand over control to Bob Chapek in 2020. Chapek ended up being fired by the board of directors after a series of missteps and growing concern by Iger about the company's direction. a company.

Meanwhile, as proxy sabers continue to rattle, a prominent business figure has aligned himself with Iger. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, a highly influential figure in banking and finance circles, sent a statement to CNBC outlining his rationale.

“Bob is a first-class executive and an outstanding leader that I have known for decades,” Dimon said in the statement. “He knows the media and entertainment business and has the successful track record to prove it. It's a complex industry full of creative talent, and requires the unique experience and engagement skills that Bob possesses. Putting people on the board unnecessarily could hurt the company. I don't know why shareholders would take that risk; Especially in light of the great progress the company has made since Bob's return.