Institutional Investors Call for Meeting with Disney Board of Directors
CalPERS Press Release
Institutional Investors Call for Meeting with Disney Board of Directors; Public pension funds ask for a meeting to discuss company's performance
SACRAMENTO, Calif.--March 22, 2004--Six of the nation's largest institutional investors today publicly called for a meeting with The Walt Disney Company Board of Directors to discuss the performance and future of the company.
The group of investors - with combined assets of more than $500 billion, include fiduciaries and managers of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), North Carolina Retirement Systems, and the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS).
In a letter to George Mitchell, Chairman of Disney's Board of Directors, the funds made it clear they want an immediate meeting with all members of the Disney Board.
Following are comments outlining the need for Disney's board to meet with the representatives from the six funds.
Denise L. Nappier -- "The shareholder vote may have been the first act, but it is absolutely not the end of the story. As long-term investors, we remain concerned about Disney's future, and we need to see, up close and personal, how the Board plans to address the serious and substantial issues at their doorstep," said Connecticut Treasurer Denise L. Nappier.
Alan G. Hevesi -- "Disney's decision to split the chairman and CEO role was a good first step. But it is only the first step. Now is the time for Disney to be proactive, by detailing for shareholders the Board's plan to improve performance and restore shareholder value," said New York State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi.
Richard Moore -- "A substantial number of Disney shareholders demonstrated their lack of confidence in the Board with the vote last month and now Disney has the opportunity to begin to earn back their trust. I feel confident they will embrace the opportunity to open discussions with institutional investors as a first step in that long road." Richard Moore, North Carolina State Treasurer.
Jack Ehnes -- "We applaud the Disney board for its responsiveness to shareholders in separating the roles of CEO and board chair," said Jack Ehnes, chief executive officer of CalSTRS. "It's obvious the board got the message sent by the shareholders. Let this be the start of an important, ongoing dialogue with shareholders as we work together to improve Disney's business strategies and performance."
Sean Harrigan -- "We remain extremely concerned about the high negative vote that most of the Disney board members received from shareholders, and it is time that every board member hear directly from large shareholders why we are so concerned and what our expectations are as owners on behalf of the public servants who depend on investments for their retirement," said Sean Harrigan, President of CalPERS Board.
The following is a copy of the letter sent to Disney Chairman George Mitchell.
March 22, 2004
Mr. George Mitchell
Chairman of the Board of Directors
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, California 91521
VIA FAX (Deleted)
Dear Mr. Mitchell:
We are writing to you as fiduciaries and managers of the largest
pension funds in the United States and long-term shareowners of The
Walt Disney Company.
The purpose of our letter is to request an immediate meeting between
all members of The Walt Disney Company's Board of Directors and
representative leaders of our pension systems to discuss the
performance and governance concerns surrounding the Company. We
believe that a meeting with the Disney Board of Directors will be more
likely to result in a clear communication of our concerns.
We remain deeply concerned that our investments and the future of this
company are in jeopardy. The company has lost more than 20 percent in
stock value over the last five years -- nearly five times more than
the losses incurred by the S&P 500 index for the comparable period. In
our view, such a meeting would send a necessary signal to the market
place that the Disney Board is willing to engage in a constructive
dialogue regarding our mutual interests as fiduciaries and shareowner
It is important that we act without further delay, so we would
appreciate the immediate review of board calendars to allow us to
schedule this meeting. We will make our calendars available to
accommodate that meeting.
Please contact Patricia Macht, Assistant Executive Officer - CalPERS
Office of Public Affairs, as our designee to work with you or your
representative to schedule the meeting. Pat is expecting your call and
can be reached at (Deleted); rest assured that this matter will
receive the highest priority.
We look forward to your prompt attention to this matter.
Charlie Adkins, Chair
Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
Chief Executive Officer
California State Teachers' Retirement System
California Public Employees' Retirement System
Alan G. Hevesi
State of New York
Denise L. Nappier
State of Connecticut
Richard H. Moore
State of North Carolina
cc: The Walt Disney Company Board of Directors
03-24-2004 07:38 PM