Disney names Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman to its board


Walt Disney Co. appointed Morgan Stanley Chief James Gorman and veteran media executive Jeremy Darroch to its board of directors ahead of an expected proxy fight.

Darroch’s appointment will be effective Jan. 9, while Gorman’s will take effect on Feb. 5, Disney said Wednesday in a statement.

Billionaire Nelson Peltz and his Trian Fund Management are planning their own nominees to the board next year. Trian has amassed a $2.66 billion stake in Disney that includes shares pledged by Ike Perlmutter, the former chairman of Marvel Entertainment who was fired by Disney after lobbying for Peltz to join the board. 

Earlier this month, ValueAct Capital Management became the second activist investor to amass a stake in Disney. While its intentions aren’t known, the company isn’t working with Peltz, people with knowledge of the matter have said. 

Also in November, after Peltz’s renewed interest in board seats was reported, Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger increased the company’s annual cost-cutting target to $7.5 billion from $5.5 billion.

At the New York Times DealBook Summit in New York on Wednesday, Iger said that Disney’s board will consider potential nominations from Peltz in line with its regular process. He also said at the same event that he’s no longer considering selling the company’s traditional TV channels, like ABC and FX, reversing comments from earlier this year.

The company has yet to schedule its 2024 annual meeting. Disney shares closed unchanged at $92.50 in New York.

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