The Walt Disney Co.’s annual shareholders meeting concluded today in Philadelphia with 43% of shareholders giving company chairman and CEO Michael Eisner a “No Confidence” vote.
While yesterday’s standing-room-only shareholder briefing demonstrated an overwhelming amount of interest in the “Save Disney” campaign mounted by former Walt Disney Co. chairman Roy E. Disney and business partner Stanley Gold, the crusaders say the result was a significant victory.
“The resounding ‘No Confidence’ vote cast by shareholders/owners of The Walt Disney Co. has sent a clear and undeniable message that dramatic change is needed now and that Michael Eisner must go,” say Disney and Gold.
Before ballots were cast, Disney and Gold correctly estimated the number of Walt Disney Co. shareholders who would withhold votes for the reelection of Michael Eisner as a board director. “We have said from the start that we believed anything north of a 20% withhold vote would send a strong message to the Board that shareholders were demanding a change at the company, that Michael Eisner must go,” say Disney and Gold. “After today’s mandate, the Board can no longer ignore the will of its shareholders. The ‘No Confidence’ vote received by Mr. Eisner is unprecedented in American corporate history.”
The message sent by today’s vote is likely to prompt the Mouse House to do some restructuring in order to assure shareholders that the company is moving in the right direction. Many shareholders feel that Eisner should not serve as both company CEO and board chariman.