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Disney CEO Bob Iger Pay Hit $31.6 Million in 2023; Board Rejects Candidates Nominated by Activist Investors

Disney CEO Bob Iger saw his compensation hit $31.6 million in 2023 — down from $45.9 million in 2021, his last prior full year of employment at the company.

Iger’s 2023 pay package included $865,385 in base salary, plus 16.1 million in stock awards, $10 million in stock-option awards, $2.14 million cash bonus and $2.48 million in other compensation, according to the company’s proxy statement filed Tuesday with the SEC. His contract with Disney runs through the end of 2026.

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Iger was Disney CEO from 2005-20 and served as executive chairman of the company through the end 2021. He returned as interim CEO after the ouster of Bob Chapek — who had been Iger’s hand-picked successor — in November 2022. For 2023, Chapek received total compensation from Disney of $9.94 million.

Also Tuesday, Disney’s board of directors disclosed its recommended slate of 12 nominees for election at the 2024 annual meeting of shareholders (with the date TBA) in the preliminary proxy materials. The board officially rejected the two candidates nominated by activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management (Peltz and former Disney CFO James Rasulo). In addition the board recommended that shareholders not vote for three candidates (Craig Hatkoff, Jessica Schell and Leah Solivan) floated by Blackwells Capital.

Iger, after stepping back in as CEO, implemented mass layoffs as Disney ultimately affecting more than 8,000 workers, among other cost-cutting and strategic moves. At the New York Times’ DealBook conference last November, Iger said he’s been “fixing a lot of problems that the company has had and dealing with a lot of challenges,” some of which he blamed on “decisions that were made by my predecessor,” referring to Chapek.

Among Iger’s bigger challenges is getting Disney’s streaming business in the black and determining the strategic path forward for ESPN — which may include selling a stake in the sports giant to the NFL.

The director candidates Disney’s board recommended that investors vote for include: Iger; Mark Parker, who serves as chairman of the Disney board and is executive chairman of Nike; Mary Barra, chair and CEO of GM; Oracle CEO Safra Catz; Amy Chang, a former senior executive at Cisco Systems and Google and a current director of Procter & Gamble; Carolyn Everson, former senior executive at Instacart, Meta Platforms and Microsoft and a current director of the Coca-Cola Co. and Under Armour; Michael B.G. Froman, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and former vice chairman and president, strategic growth at Mastercard; Maria Elena Lagomasino, CEO and managing partner of WE Family Offices and a former senior executive at JP Morgan Private Bank and Chase Manhattan Bank and a current director of the Coca-Cola Co.; Calvin McDonald, CEO of Lululemon Athletica; and Derica Rice, a former senior executive at CVS Health and Eli Lilly & Co. and a current director of the Carlyle Group, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and Target Corp.

The Disney board’s most recent additions are Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman and former Sky chief Jeremy Darroch, who also will be standing for election at the annual meeting.

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