James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley and shortly to be a member of Disney‘s board of administrators, shouldn’t be fazed by the potential for the media large going by a proxy struggle.

Throughout a prolonged sit-down with CNBC, the exec acknowledged {that a} battle is brewing with activist investor Nelson Peltz, whose funding agency nominated him together with ex-Disney CFO James Rasulo for board seats. The duo are co-ordinating their efforts with Ike Perlmutter, the previous head of Marvel.

Disney stated a board committee will think about these functions forward of the annual shareholder assembly, nevertheless it has been vital of Perlmutter for having a “longstanding private agenda” in opposition to the corporate as a consequence of his dismissal by CEO Bob Iger. Shareholders will elect board members in early 2024 on the assembly, whose date has not but been introduced.

“That’s all proper,” Gorman shrugged concerning the skirmish between Disney and the activist buyers. “You recognize, we have now had numerous battles in my life. That doesn’t trouble me one little bit. I believe the, you recognize, the problem is to arrange the situations the place the board has decisions with gifted candidates who’re correctly vetted for all of the stresses these jobs have.”

Gorman additionally confirmed he’ll be part of the succession committee of the Disney board, which has been convened to choose CEO Bob Iger’s successor. The method has gone awry a number of occasions at Disney over the previous 20 years, giving the in any other case esteemed blue-chip firm a notable blemish within the eyes of buyers. Iger just lately re-upped by the top of 2026 and has insisted the succession course of is a high precedence. The CEO additionally stated final month that he would depart on the finish of his contract, opposite to hypothesis that he would once more re-up.

Overseeing a CEO transition at Morgan Stanley, which is able to see Gorman go the baton in early 2024, has helped put together him for the Disney effort. “I’m all a few full handoff” at Morgan Stanley, Gorman stated, versus a state of affairs by which he would keep as chairman or in another energetic function, a route taken by many CEOs and boards. Iger remained as government chair at Disney for almost two years after stepping down in February 2020, ostensibly to concentrate on overseeing artistic actions. After rising more and more pissed off with the path of the corporate underneath successor Bob Chapek, Iger accepted the board’s invitation to return as CEO in November 2022.

“I had my final working committee assembly this morning,” Gorman stated. “I had my final threat committee assembly, my final administration committee. And I advised them, I’ll by no means seem in considered one of these conferences once more, ever. It’s not my job anymore.”

Requested about Disney’s struggles with executing transitions on the high, Gorman replied, “The kinds of issues I’ve executed on this job is strategic transformation. Clearly handled shareholders at many ranges, together with activists. Succession expertise constructing. So, a few of the challenges that I’ve, I hope, you recognize, I can lend a few of my expertise on it. I don’t need to prejudge, you recognize, the succession course of. That wouldn’t be truthful to the staff. I haven’t, I don’t begin as a director till February.”

Iger, whose first run as CEO started in 2005, signaled his intention to go away the highest job a number of occasions solely to backtrack, lastly handing the reins to Chapek simply as Covid started sweeping throughout the planet. Iger’s predecessor, Michael Eisner, additionally didn’t proactively handle the succession course of. On account of a shareholder revolt capped by a tumultuous shareholder assembly in 2004, he was stripped of his chairman title. Eisner departed the corporate the next yr, ending a 21-year run within the nook workplace.


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