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Disney corporate succession plan: Iger transitions from CEO to Chair in 2015; Pepper retires as chair in 2012; new CEO to be named in March 2015

John E Pepper. Photo: Disney
BURBANK, Calif. USA — The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) Board of Directors announced it has agreed to extend Robert A. Iger’s contract through June 2016 as part of the Company’s ongoing succession planning.

Under the new agreement, effective Oct. 1, Iger will assume the role of chairman in addition to chief executive officer following Chairman John E. Pepper’s retirement from the board at Disney’s 2012 annual shareholder meeting in March. Until then, Iger will remain president and chief executive officer.

Iger will hold the positions of chairman and chief executive officer through March 31, 2015, at which time a new CEO would be named; Iger will thereafter serve as executive chairman for 15 months through June 30, 2016. Iger’s current contract was set to expire on Jan. 31, 2013.

The Disney board took action at this time to secure the benefit of Iger’s leadership through 2016, provide for an effective, seamless succession and management transition and a continuity of the company’s corporate strategy to create long-term value for shareholders.

As provided in the company’s corporate governance guidelines, the board will also select an independent lead director when Iger assumes the role of Chair immediately following the meeting in March.

“As one of the most iconic brands and preeminent companies in the world, The Walt Disney Company requires a leader with the proven ability to drive creative and financial success in a dynamic world. For more than six years, Bob Iger has proven he has that ability at the highest level,” said Mr. Pepper. “The Board is delighted that the company has been able to secure the longer-term continuation of Bob’s unique blend of experience and leadership skills. His ability to bring together the many parts of Disney’s business against a clear and proven strategy, while instilling a culture of innovation, collaboration and discipline, will continue to serve the long-term interests of shareholders.”

Pepper added: “It is for these reasons – continuing the strategic direction and growth of the company while ensuring a smooth transition process to the next generation of leadership – the Board has determined that Bob should assume the additional role of Chairman.”

Iger said: “No CEO could have a better counselor than John — his impeccable integrity, vast experience, and knowledge and appreciation of Disney have been invaluable. I want to thank him for his many contributions, and his support of our people and our strategy including two of the company’s most significant acquisitions in recent years: Pixar and Marvel.”

“I’m privileged and grateful to lead The Walt Disney Company and our talented, dedicated team at this exciting time,” Iger added. “I’m committed to increasing long-term value for shareholders and am confident we will continue to do so through the successful execution of our core strategic priorities: the creation of high quality, branded content and experiences, the use of technology, and creating growth in numerous and exciting international markets.”

Since being named president and chief executive on September 30, 2005, Iger, 60, has led the Company to record operating results while positioning Disney for the future in the global, dynamic multi-media industry. Disney’s total shareholder return since October 1, 2005 is five times higher than that of the S&P 500.

During Iger’s leadership tenure, The Walt Disney Company has been recognized as one of “America’s Most Admired Companies” by Fortune magazine (2009, 2010, 2011); one of the “World’s Most Respected Companies” by Barron’s (2009, 2010); and one of the “Best Places to Launch a Career” by BusinessWeek magazine (2006-2010).

As part of the agreement, Iger’s annual base salary will be $2.5 million. Iger is not receiving any up front equity award in connection with signing the new agreement. His annual bonus award will be calculated based on the Company’s performance, including its operating income, return on invested capital, earnings per share and after-tax free cash flow. He will also be entitled to an annual long-term equity incentive award of options and restricted stock units, the ultimate value of which will be entirely dependent on the Company’s future financial performance.

For further details, see the Report on Form 8-K now available on Disney’s corporate website, (www.disney.com/investors).

Robert Iger bio
Robert A. Iger, 60, has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company since October 2005, having previously served as President and Chief Operating Officer since January 2000 and as President of Walt Disney International and Chairman of the ABC Group from 1999 to January 2000. From 1974 to 1998, Mr. Iger held a series of increasingly responsible positions at ABC, Inc. and its predecessor Capital Cities/ABC, Inc., culminating in service as President of the ABC Network Television Group from 1993 to 1994 and President and Chief Operating Officer of ABC, Inc. from 1994 to 1999. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Mr. Iger has been a Director of the Company since 2000.
John E Pepper bio
John E. Pepper, Jr., 73, has served as Chairman of the Board of the Company since January 1, 2007 and is Co-Chairman of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Previously, he served as Chief Executive Officer of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center from December 2005 to May 2007 and as Vice President of Finance and Administration at Yale University from January 2004 to December 2005. Prior to that, he served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of The Procter & Gamble Company until December 2003. Since 1963, he had served in various positions at Procter & Gamble, including Chairman of the Board from 2000 to 2002, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman from 1995 to 1999, President from 1986 to 1995 and director from 1984 to 2003. Mr. Pepper served on the board of Boston Scientific Corp. from 2003 to May 2010 and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative. Mr. Pepper has been a Director of the Company since 2006.
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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