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03-22-2004, 02:14 PM
Institutional Investors Call for Meeting with Disney Board of Directors; Public pension funds ask for a meeting to discuss company's performance

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--03/22/2004--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 (818) 560-1930

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 (916) 326-3850; 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

Jack Ehnes

Chief Executive Officer

California State Teachers' Retirement System

Sean Harrigan


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

CONTACT:New York State Comptroller David Neustadt, 212-681-4839, 917-468-5616 or Connecticut Treasurer Bernard Kavaler, 860-702-3277 or OPERS Michele Kowalik, 614-222-5614 or CalSTRS Sherry Reser, 916-229-3258 or CalPERS Brad Pacheco/Pat Macht, 916-326-3991 or North Carolina Treasurer Julie White, 919-508-1024


03/22/2004 17:35 EASTERN