In an unexpected turn of events, The Walt Disney Co., Roy E. Disney and Stanley P. Gold Friday issued a joint statement staying they have agreed to put aside their differences. The litigious nephew of Walt Disney has agreed to dismiss all pending lawsuits he has filed against the company that bares his family name, and will return to its board of directors as director emeritus. He will also serve as a consultant for the Mouse House.
In May, Disney and Gold filed a lawsuit with the Delaware Chancery Court alleging that the Walt Disney Co. Board misled shareholders in regard to their so-called "bona fide search" for a CEO to replace Michael Eisner. The claim suggested that the Board pretended to be looking at candidates other than Bob Iger in order to get incumbent Board members re-elected at the 2005 meeting, and to keep Disney and Gold from running an alternate slate of directors.
Under the agreement announced today, the Walt Disney Co. reaffirmed its commitment to the rotation of committee members and chairpersons on its Board committees as currently required by the company’s corporate governance guidelines. In return, Roy Disney and Gold have agreed not to run a rival slate of directors or submit shareholder resolutions for the next five years.
Though they have publicly expressed their disappointment with the process by which Iger was selected as CEO, Roy Disney and Gold now express confidence in Iger’s leadership, according to the statement. They also put forth an effort to make nice with Eisner, acknowledging positive contributions he has made to the Walt Disney Co. over the past 21 years.