Walt and Roy Disney’s Grandchildren Want Shareholders to Vote For Iger and The Board

Published: March 1, 2024

In the most recent twist, Disney pulled out all the stops in an attempt to keep activist investor groups from getting a seat on their board. The company sent out two letters to investors from Walt Disney and Roy Disney’s grandchildren urging shareholders to vote for them.

They literally are now rolling out the grandchildren to keep their seats. Making sure they talk about the legacy of the company and nostalgia to try and sway the shareholders.

This is where we are now. 

In the letters, the grandchildren argue that it is Bob Iger and the current board who can continue the spirit of the company they hail from.

They say that Peltz’s group are “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and say he is also one of the “villains” in a Disney story.

Bob Iger, his management team, and the Board of Directors are faithful to this magic. They understand that the longevity of The Walt Disney Company isn’t only the result of smart business decisions; it is rooted in the strong emotional connection Disney continues to forge with generations of people from around the globe.

We may not agree about everything, but we know that our grandfather would be especially proud of what Disney means to the world today. We also know that, like us, he would be very concerned by the threat posed by self-anointed ‘activist investors’ who are really wolves in sheep’s clothing, just waiting to tear Disney apart if they can trick shareholders into opening the door for them.”

Ironically, this letter included Abigail Disney, Roy Disney’s granddaughter. 

So who’s the villain? Abigail has indicated it was Bob Iger many times in the past. She has famously called out Bob Iger and the current Walt Disney Board repeatedly. 

She even made a movie, The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales, where she ripped Iger all the time. In an interview with Time about the film, she said:

And I can’t imagine that a CEO, in good faith, would object to having a more complex measure of success than simply something as blunt and silly as share price. The share price has lost more than 40% of its value in the last two years, which is pretty cataclysmic for people who rely on pension funds and things like that to live their lives. I hate it. But it’s not enough of a way to know if the company is doing well or not.

Well, she apparently doesn’t hate it too much because when other investors are upset about the stock price and other issues, she doesn’t want anyone else to step in. 

When asked about the current turmoil at the Walt Disney Company in November 2022, right after Bob Iger came back, Abigail Disney said:

This reflects badly on the board for the way they handled it and the fact that they never have succession in mind, really, in a serious way. It reflects badly on Chapek because he performed really badly, and it reflects badly on Bob [Iger] because, really honestly, this is an affirmation that he failed with succession planning.

Now she thinks that they should all stay. 

In another interview with Fortune in July 2023, Abigail Disney made this comment about Bob Iger.

I think Bob is a basically decent person, but I think money and power have hijacked his sensibilities. As with so many people at the very top of systems, they can’t see outside of the system they’re in. They can’t imagine a different way of doing it, and that’s what we need.”

But it’s the same as it’s been. Now, is change bad? But she wanted to change before?

She has called out Bob Iger’s previous pay as “insane.” 

I am not saying that Trian or Blackwell groups are not about the money because clearly, they all are. It seems like another desperate attempt by The Walt Disney Company board to keep everyone seated and Bob Iger to keep people who are loyal to him in place.

They would not go this far if they didn’t think there was a real threat. 

But bringing Abigail Disney into it is highly ironic given the many times she has called out Iger and the board in the past. Now, they are the poor, innocent sheep that activist investor wolves want to eat. Which is it?

What do you think? Comment and let us know!

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