Disney is spoiling its family-friendly brand.
The company’s war with Florida governor Ron DeSantis did far more damage than good.
Now Disney is panicking after an investor was furious for one reason.
After a slew of bad moves, Disney finished 2022 with its worst stock price since 1974, representing a 44% drop year over year.
In a desperate attempt to right the ship, Disney rehired CEO Bob Iger, who recently replaced his hand-picked successor Bob Chapek.
Chapek was blamed for Disney+ losing tons of subscribers and poorly navigating the political battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
And at least one major investor is displeased with Disney’s leadership.
Trian Fund Management CEO Nelson Peltz is attempting to muscle his way onto the board of directors because of Disney’s poor stock performance.
Trian has a $900 million stake in Disney, so Peltz is not someone who can be ignored.
Peltz wrote in a statement that “despite Disney’s significant advantages, recent share price and operating performance have been disappointing. Disney shares are currently trading near an 8-year low despite the Company’s recent decision to re-hire Bob Iger as CEO.”
The re-emergence of Iger was supposed to be the silver bullet that would save the company, but Peltz is not convinced.
He added that “Trian believes that Disney’s recent performance reflects the hard truth that it is a company in crisis with many challenges weighing on investor sentiment…As such, we believe that the Company’s current problems are primarily self-inflicted and need to be addressed immediately…”
Iger was obviously none too pleased with Peltz’s public redress.
Disney argued that Peltz “does not understand” the company’s business and “lacks the skills and experience to assist the board in delivering shareholder value in a rapidly shifting media ecosystem.”
The company added that “Peltz has no track record in large cap media or tech” and “no solutions to offer for the evolving media landscape.”
Peltz wants a seat on the board to be privy to more information.
“Peltz said…he’s been pushing for a board seat to get access to internal numbers and tell other members if and when they’re missing out on opportunities…The company said it had offered Peltz an information-sharing agreement, meaning he would have met quarterly with both management and the board, rather than a board observer role, as Peltz had said. Otherwise, Disney pointed to numerous interactions between the company and Trian.”
The elephant in the room is that Disney hurt its brand by doubling and tripling down on “wokeness.”
Neither Peltz nor Iger acknowledged those issues, although upon Iger’s return, there were rumors that Disney planned to tone down much of the politicking.
Even a majority of Florida Democrats supported DeSantis’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which was smeared by the so-called mainstream media as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
It’s going to take time for Disney to regain the public trust.
Thus far, the company is off to a poor start.