Star Wars creator George Lucas has signaled his support for Bob Iger amid the current push for activist investors to join Disney‘s corporate board. Lucas penned a statement imploring both the board and the shareholders to reject Nelson Peltz’s push to join their ranks. The activist investors argue that Disney has underperformed in the second Iger era. (That is despite inheriting a bit of a dire situation from Bob Chapek amid the COVID-19 pandemic.) On April 3, the Disney shareholders will vote on all these rival board candidates. Brian Partners has two individuals they’re putting forward, Peltz and former Disney CFO Jay Result. Blackwells Capital, an investment firm has also fielded three candidates.

Creating magic is not for amateurs,” Lucas said in a public statement. “When I sold Lucasfilm just over a decade ago, I was delighted to become a Disney shareholder because of my longtime admiration for its iconic brand and Bob Iger‘s leadership.”

“When Bob recently returned to the company during a difficult time, I was relieved. No one knows Disney better,” Lucas would continue. “I remain a significant shareholder because I have full faith and confidence in the power of Disney and Bob’s track record of driving long-term value. I have voted all of my shares for Disney’s 12 directors and urge other shareholders to do the same.”

Nelson Peltz’s History With Disney

Disney’s tension with former Marvel executive Ike Perlmutter has been well-documented. CNBC asked Bob Iger about the man who’s been behind a lot of this power play. (Trian Partners has a ton of Disney stock, 75% of it belongs to Perlmutter.) Funnily enough, Kevin Feige has a little bit to do with all of this. The former executive tried to fire him and Iger stepped in to make sure that didn’t happen.

“Our filings indicate that both Ike and Nelson were working together to try to encourage the board or convince the board to put Nelson on the board,” he detailed. “They have a relationship that dates back quite some time. We bought Marvel in 2009. I promised Ike the job that he would continue to run Marvel after that. Not forever, necessarily. But after that.

Iger continued, “And in 2015 he was intent on firing Kevin Feige who was running Marvel’s studio, the movie making [operation] at the time, and I thought that was a mistake and stepped in to prevent that from happening. I think Kevin is an incredibly, incredibly talented executive that you know, the Marvel track record speaks for itself. And so I moved the moviemaking operation of Marvel out from under Ike into the movie studio under Alan Horn”

Bob Iger’s Big Pivot


As it stands, Disney is undergoing a bit of restructuring. The focus has been put back on theatrical releases and the parks. While streaming was king during Chapek’s tenure, Iger has pulled the steering wheel back toward what he knows best. The executive talked about it during a recent investor call.

“Now it’s time for another transformation,” Iger began, “one that rationalizes our enviable streaming business and puts it on a path to sustainable growth and profitability, while also reducing expenses to improve margins, and better positioning us to weather future disruption increased competition, and global economic challenges. We must also return creativity to the center of the company, increased accountability, improved results and ensure the quality of our content and experiences.”

“Now the details,” Iger revealed. “Our company is fueled by storytelling and creativity. And virtually every dollar we earn every transaction, and every interaction with our consumers emanates from something creative. I’ve always believed that the best way to spread great creativity is to make sure that the people who are managing the creative processes feel empowered. Therefore, our new structure is aimed at returning greater authority to our creative leaders and making them accountable for how their content performs financially.”

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