Nelson Peltz Prepares for Proxy Fight for Disney Board Seat

Trian Fund Management, Peltz's company, owns $900 million in Disney's stock.

Logo of Disney store in Dublin city center.
Disney faces a board shakeup. NurPhoto via Getty Images

Nelson Peltz, the activist investor who founded Trian Fund Management, nominated himself to The Walt Disney Company (DIS)’s board of directors in a preliminary proxy statement filed today (Jan. 12). The fund owns 9.4 million shares of Disney valued at $900 million.

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“Disney’s recent performance reflects the hard truth that it is a company in crisis,” Trian said in the statement, in which he called on shareholders to support him.

The potential proxy fight follows other shakeups on Disney’s board. The company’s current chairperson, Susan Arnold, reached the Disney’s term limit of 15 years and will depart the board. It elected Mark Parker to the position, who has served on the board for seven years. The number of seats will be reduced to 11 with Arnold’s departure.

In November, the board ousted CEO Bob Chapek, former CEO Bob Iger’s hand-picked successor, after less than two years in the role. The decision came as a surprise since the board unanimously voted to extend Chapek’s contract just five months earlier. The board asked the retired Iger to return, and while shareholders cheered the news by raising the stock price, it also revealed turmoil within the company. 

Peltz waged proxy battles against Heinz Company in 2006 and Proctor & Gamble in 2017 and ended with board seats on both companies. He also sat on the boards for Mondelez International, a snack company, and Ingersoll-Rand, an air conditioner and security systems manufacturer. Disney opposes the nomination, according to Bloomberg, but did not immediately respond to the Observer’s request for comment.

Despite Disney’s stock reaching an all-time high in 2021, it is now at an eight-year low, excluding a brief, pandemic-related dip in March 2020. According to Trian, Disney overpaid for 21st Century Fox in 2019 with its $71.3 billion price tag. Peltz is not looking to break up the company or replace Bob Iger, the returned CEO, according to the company statement. He said he wants to reduce debt by selling assets and help manage Disney’s next CEO succession, which will take place in two years. 

Nelson Peltz Prepares for Proxy Fight for Disney Board Seat