George Lucas Picks His Player in Disney Proxy Battle

'Star Wars' filmmaker goes to bat for CEO Bob Iger in fight against Nelson Peltz, as does Jamie Dimon
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2024 9:06 AM CDT
George Lucas Picks His Player in Disney Proxy Battle
George Lucas arrives at the premiere of "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" on June 14 at El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Nelson Peltz's hedge fund is trying to seize two seats on Disney's board of directors, but he's got some opposition, including from one of the entertainment giant's biggest single shareholders: Star Wars director George Lucas, who says he's backing the board and the leadership of CEO Bob Iger, reports the Wall Street Journal.

  • Peltz's bid: The activist investor's Trian Partners and fellow activist hedge fund Blackwells Capital are trying to nab support from shareholders to gain board seats. Peltz and his team want Iger out, and for Disney to make multiple improvements, including enhancing its theme parks, paring back on Hulu, and increasing shareholder returns.
  • Lucas' statement: "Creating magic is not for amateurs. I remain a significant shareholder because I have full faith and confidence in the power of Disney and Bob's track record of driving long-term value. I have voted all of my shares for Disney's 12 directors and urge other shareholders to do the same." He added on Tuesday that "no one knows Disney better" than Iger, who left his CEO post in 2020, only to return more than two years later. Lucas says of that "difficult time" that he was "relieved" when Iger came back, per the Hollywood Reporter.
  • Disney's take: "You don't manage creativity the way you manage a hedge fund," the company, which owns Lucasfilm, said in a statement echoing Lucas' sentiment.
  • Jamie Dimon in the mix: The JPMorgan Chase CEO offered his own endorsement last week for Iger, noting the Disney chief is "a first-class executive and outstanding leader ... [who] knows the media and entertainment business cold and has the successful track record to prove it," per Fortune. That outlet explains the "common thread" between Lucas and Dimon: Mellody Hobson, co-CEO of Ariel Investments, the first Black woman to join JPMorgan's board and Lucas' wife.
(More George Lucas stories.)

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