Activist investor Nelson Peltz is stating his case for joining Disney’s board.
Peltz’s Trian Fund Management, in formally nominating Peltz and former Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo to the media giant’s board of directors Thursday, made a list of initiatives and performance targets they’d pursue if elected.
In a proxy filing, Peltz and Rasulo promised to “finally complete a successful CEO succession,” alluding to CEO Bob Iger’s consistent delaying of his retirement date and his return after the firing of former CEO Bob Chapek.
Trian also said it will “align management pay with performance,” calling out Iger’s $31.6 million pay package last year while Disney stock was little changed, underperforming the S&P 500 for 2023.
Trian also aims to target and achieve “Netflix-like margins” of 15% to 20% by 2027, with Peltz adding that he thinks Netflix is Disney’s biggest competition.
The proxy battle comes as Iger tries to streamline the sprawling media company to rein in spending and make its Disney+ streaming platform profitable. Iger has instituted broad restructuring, including thousands of layoffs.
Peltz reiterated in a CNBC “Squawk Box” interview Thursday morning that he believes Disney’s current board oversight is “awful.”
“They said I have no media experience — I don’t claim to have any,” Peltz said Thursday. “But I will tell you, I don’t think they have much media experience.”
Disney has thus far rejected Peltz’s push to join the board.
In the proxy filing, Peltz also touched on the future of ESPN, which he called the “crown jewel” of the company, with the goal of creating a solidified and detailed payback period and business plan for building out the platform. Iger has previously said Disney is prioritizing turning ESPN into the “preeminent” digital sports platform.
Peltz called for a board-led review of studio creativity to “restore leadership accountability” and reclaim the company’s leading box office position.
Peltz and Rasulo aim to execute a clear vision for the brand’s theme parks, targeting “high-single digit operating income growth,” according to the filing.
Peltz told CNBC on Thursday that he paid a visit to Disney World last week.
“It was fascinating because … we didn’t have any special passes. We didn’t have any tour guides. … Everybody was nice. I mean, Magic Kingdom and the Hollywood Studios — terrific,” he said. “All the employees were smiling, and that’s probably in large part because they didn’t own any Disney stock.”
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.
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