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The Momentum, Motive, and Mouse-Kapades of the Majority Vote Movement | Author: Jay Razzouk

The Momentum, Motive, and Mouse-Kapades of the Majority Vote Movement | Author: Jay Razzouk

The Walt Disney Company’s annual shareholder meeting on March 3, 2004 was anything but a Cinderella tale. Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold, both ex-directors of Disney and one a nephew of Walt Disney himself, had rallied thousands of shareholders to challenge the incumbent board of directors. The stakes were high. Michael Eisner, the chairman and chief executive officer, faced losing his title as chairman—if not more. Although foretold by the Wall Street Journal the day before, the events that transpired were still breathtaking. In an unprecedented display of shareholder disapproval, forty-three percent of the Disney shareholders withheld their vote from Eisner. The other directors fared a little better, having anywhere between thirteen percent and twenty-four percent of the votes withheld from them. While thirteen percent might sound like a small figure at first, it is actually quite staggering. Even having five percent of the votes withheld is considered “embarrassing” to that director. The success of the Disney shareholders’ revolt is even more amazing when one considers other factors such as the effect of broker votes.

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