Despite the opinions of the advisory firm Glass Lewis & Co., Disney shareholders re-elected Steve Jobs to the board on Wednesday – even though he has missed about 75% of the meetings last year.
Jobs’ absences from most of the meetings are allegedly due to an illness that also had him take a leave of absence as CEO of Apple.
Even though the advisory firm recommended Jobs not be re-elected, the Disney shareholders reinstated him at their annual meeting in Salt Lake City, as well as re-electing the company’s 12 other nominees.
The meeting was mostly free of controversy, with some attendees expressing overwhelming support for Disney president and CEO Bob Iger. However, at one point several California theme park employees complained about the failure of Disney to settle a four-year dispute with their union.
Complaints included one employee who said that a contract that’s currently in negotiation would cause him to “lose” his health care, while another worker asked Iger to “defend the fact that he earns more than 1,300 times the salary of a hospitality worker at the California parks.”
Iger did his best to defend the compensation of Disney’s workers, stating that “it is on par or better than the rest of the industry.” In response to complaints that health care was inadequate, Iger said that the “contract on the table includes choices of various health plans to chooses from [and] guaranteed raises.”
One other complaint was brought by a man who has owned stock since the 1960’s – his complaint was about the fact that Disney no longer gives free theme park tickets to those who attend shareholders meetings.
“I don’t know when we stopped and became so chintzy,” he says, “What would Walt Disney Say?”
The policy of giving out free tickets, which ended in the 90’s, was discontinued when thousands of people would show up for the meetings simply to nab free theme park tickets. Iger did, however, promise that those who left their names and contact information would get free tickets after all.
The Board also showed several film trailers, and a 10 minute Disney Pixar short featuring Toy Story characters on a Hawaiian vacation. And, as has happened in previous years, shareholders requested that Song of the South be made available for public viewing once more. Iger’s response to the request for the film, which is considered racially insensitive today: “Just remember it as it was, and don’t expect to see it again.”