Bob Iger And Disney Get Backing In Proxy Battle From Former CEO Michael Eisner

Disney and its current CEO, Bob Iger, have secured the backing of Iger’s onetime boss, former Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner.

In a statement posted to social media, Eisner didn’t name Nelson Peltz, whose Trian Fund Management is mounting an offensive to win two seats on Disney’s board at the April 3 annual shareholder meeting. But the longtime media exec wrote that “bringing in someone who doesn’t have experience in the company or the industry to disrupt Bob and his eventual successor is playing not only with fire but earthquakes and hurricanes as well.”

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Eisner recalled a similar skirmish in 1983, just prior to the start of his two-decade run as chairman and CEO, when “corporate raiders were trying to take over the company.”

Had that incursion been allowed, he continued, “that would have ended the Disney Company as we know it, for the studio, theme parks, and hotels were suggested to be sold off.” Instead, once Eisner and top exec Frank Wells were installed to run the company, “a different story was written, one that was continued by Bob Iger and his executive team.”

Eisner said “lessons from 40 years ago” should be applied to the situation faced by the company today. “The company is now in excellent hands and Disney shareholders should vote for the Disney slate.”

A number of potent supporters, including Disney family members, George Lucas and Laurene Powell Jobs, have backed Iger and the company’s slate of board nominees. Peltz has not garnered nearly as much public affirmation, though this week Trian got a big win when influential proxy advisory firm ISS put its weight behind the activist bid, citing Disney’s stumbles with CEO succession.

Here is the full statement:

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