Bob Iger’s next big challenge at Disney is activist investor Nelson Peltz

Bob Iger will face one more challenge as Disney (DIS) CEO — activist investor Nelson Peltz.

On Wednesday, Disney announced Nike executive chairman Mike Parker will take over Susan Arnold’s position as chairman of the board, and likewise beneficial shareholders vote against Peltz in his efforts to win a seat on the corporate’s board.

“While senior leadership of The Walt Disney Company and its Board of Directors have engaged with Mr. Peltz quite a few times over the previous couple of months, the Board doesn’t endorse the Trian Group nominee, and recommends that shareholders not support its nominee, and as a substitute vote FOR all of the Company’s nominees (noted above),” Disney wrote in a news release on Wednesday.

Peltz, who also has an activist campaign with Unilever and serves as chairman of Wendy’s, now plans to launch a proxy battle, in response to The Wall Street Journal, appealing on to Disney shareholders to win their support for a spot on the corporate’s board.

Peltz’s Trian Fund Management acquired an $800 million stake in Disney in November. The hedge fund, which disapproved of Iger’s surprise return, is reportedly pushing for added cost cuts and a post-Iger successor — something the corporate wants as well.

Trian didn’t immediately reply to Yahoo Finance’s request for comment.

Nelson Peltz founding partner of Trian Fund Management LP. speak on the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

“It’s the highest priority of mine and the Board’s to discover and prepare a successful CEO successor, and that process has already begun,” Parker said in Wednesday’s release.

A part of that process will likely be a newly created committee, chaired by Parker, which can update the board on succession plans, including review of internal and external candidates.

Disney also doubled down on the choice behind Iger’s surprise return, explaining in the discharge: “Mr. Iger’s mandate is to make use of his two-year term and depth of experience within the industry to adapt the business model for the shifting media landscape, rebalancing investment with revenue opportunity while bringing a renewed deal with the creative talent that has made The Walt Disney Company the envy of the industry.”

“Mr. Iger has already taken decisive steps to realign content creation and distribution, and reposition Disney’s streaming platforms and linear broadcast and cable networks for enhanced profitability for the Company,” the corporate continued.

Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger speaks next to the character of Minnie Mouse at the unveiling of her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger speaks next to the character of Minnie Mouse at the revealing of her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

In its statement on Wednesday, Disney also defended the corporate’s stock performance under Iger’s watch, noting during his first turn as CEO the corporate’s total shareholder return totaled 554%, topping the 244% total return realized by the S&P 500 over that period.

Disney faced a rough 2022 as shares slid about 45%, marking the worst annual stock performance for the House of Mouse since 1974.

Streaming profitability, the long run of Hulu, and a possible ESPN spin-off all hang within the balance as Iger continues to navigate a bruised business beset with leadership challenges, unfavorable price increases, and a direct-to-consumer division struggling to show a profit.

Alexandra is a Senior Entertainment and Media Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her at alexandra.canal@yahoofinance.com

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