Los Angeles Business Journal

Teacher Fund Opposes Disney Governance Plan

By Jonathan Polakoff Thursday, February 14, 2013

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System announced Thursday it will oppose corporate governance plans from Walt Disney Co. at the Burbank company’s shareholder meeting in Arizona next month.

The $158 billion CalSTRS pension fund opposes the plan to appoint Bob Iger to dual roles as chief executive and chairman of Disney for the second consecutive year. CalSTRS favors an independent chairman.

“Here we go again, sliding back into a governance structure that has already proved detrimental to the company's long-term growth and to its shareholders’ interests,” Anne Sheehan, CalSTRS director of corporate governance, said in a statement.

The pension fund, which handles retirement accounts for teachers, owns 5.28 million shares of Disney stock worth $263 million. That accounts for 0.3 percent of outstanding shares.

The pay package of Iger, who topped the Business Journal’s survey of chief executive compensation last year with a 2011 salary of $33.4 million, has been hotly challenged at the company’s shareholder meetings in recent years, most notably by advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services. Iger’s 2012 salary was $40.2 million.

In 2004, shareholders voted to strip then-chief executive Michael Eisner of his dual role as chairman. The roles were separate until Iger was voted chairman last year.