Shareholders on Wednesday re-elected Walt Disney Co.’s board slate, including ailing Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs, whose inclusion had been criticized by proxy adviser firms and union pension funds.
Shareholders at the annual meeting held in Salt Lake City also approved a motion to give themselves an annual advisory vote on the Burbank entertainment giant’s executive compensation, a move long sought by corporate reform advocates. But shareholders rejected a union-backed proposal that would have required the company to use a single performance metric to determine executive stock grants and bonuses, a move that the company argued was too restrictive.
Jobs, 56, was re-elected with 12 other nominees, with 74 percent of the votes cast in favor of Disney’s slate, according to a preliminary count. The AFL-CIO said it voted against Jobs, even though he is Disney’s largest single shareholder and controls 7.3 percent of shares.
Jobs has dealt with a succession of health challenges in recent years, undergoing pancreatic cancer surgery in 2004 and a liver transplant in 2009. He has been medical leave from Apple since Jan. 17 and did not attend the Disney meeting.
Before the meeting, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. noted that Jobs’ spotty attendance at Disney board meetings over the past year and current leave of absence from Apple “raises questions about his ability to fulfill his responsibilities as a director.” Another advisory firm, Glass Lewis & Co. went further, recommending that investors to withhold support for Jobs to stay on the board.
Disney shares closed up 80 cents, or less than 2 percent, to $42.24 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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