Disney Names Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, Former Sky Chief Jeremy Darroch to Board of Directors; Francis deSouza Will Not Seek Re-Election

Disney’s board named Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman and former Sky chief Jeremy Darroch as new directors Wednesday.

Additionally, Disney has announced that board member Francis A. deSouza, former president and CEO of Illumina, will not stand for reelection at the company’s upcoming annual meeting, “as he pursues new opportunities in the technology sector that will require his full attention.”

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The news comes one day after Disney held a company-wide town hall featuring CEO Bob Iger and his top lieutenants discussing the state of the business.

Along with Disney CEO Bob Iger and Disney board chairman Mark Parker, executive chairman of Nike, and deSouza, Disney’s board currently includes Mary T. Barra, Safra A. Catz, Amy L. Chang, Carolyn N. Everson, Michael B.G. Froman, Maria Elena Lagomasino, Calvin R. McDonald and Derica W. Rice.

The additions of Gorman (who begins his role Feb. 5) and Darroch (starting Jan. 9) will temporarily increase Disney’s board to 13 members.

The newly appointed directors will be included in Disney’s slate of nominees in the proxy statement for the company’s annual meeting of shareholders next spring.

Disney says the naming of Gorman and Darroch “follows a lengthy and comprehensive search that began in April 2023,” when the company held its most recent annual shareholders meeting — an event that came after a months-long proxy battle with activist investor Nelson Peltz. (Peltz is rumored to once again be pushing to join the board, after giving up the fight earlier this year.) The Mouse House says the appointments “reflect Disney’s commitment to a strong board focused on the long-term performance of the company, strategic growth initiatives, the succession planning process, and increasing shareholder value.”

“James and Jeremy are both widely respected leaders in their industries, and their expertise will complement the talents and experience of the Disney board as we continue to focus on delivering for consumers and shareholders alike,” Disney board chairman Parker said. “In the 14 years that James has been CEO of Morgan Stanley, he has overseen a strategic transformation of the institution and delivered significant shareholder value, and was integral to Morgan Stanley’s well-managed succession process over the past year. Jeremy brings extensive leadership in the international media business, and during his tenure at Sky, he led Sky’s successful transition from a linear satellite broadcaster to one of Europe’s largest multi-platform TV providers.”

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