Walt Disney Co. investors re-elected Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs to the board of the entertainment company, rejecting the views of proxy advisers who say health issues may impair his ability to serve.
Jobs, 56, was re-elected with 12 other nominees at the shareholder meeting today in Salt Lake City, with 74 percent of the votes cast backing the group, according to a preliminary count. The Apple executive, absent from the meeting, owns 7.3 percent of Disney and is the largest shareholder.
The advisory group Glass Lewis & Co. recommended investors withhold support for Jobs, citing his absence from meetings. Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc., stopping short of urging rejection, said Jobs’s attendance and “recent leave of absence from his primary employer, raises questions about his ability to fulfill his responsibilities as a director.”
“The Walt Disney Company considers itself fortunate to have Steve Jobs as a member of its board of directors,” the Burbank, California-based company said today in an e-mailed statement.
Jobs has been on medical leave from Cupertino, California-based Apple since Jan. 17, his third in the past seven years. He underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2004 and had a liver transplant in 2009.
Executive Pay Proposals
Disney investors at the meeting also approved a company-backed proposal to seek an annual shareholder vote on executive pay.
Investors rejected a union proposal that would have barred the company, owner of the ABC television and the ESPN cable TV network, from employing multiple tests to determine stock grants and bonuses for executives. The AFL-CIO, with 3.8 million shares, said it voted against Jobs’s re-election.
Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger, responding to a speaker’s request, agreed to provide a free theme-park pass to shareholders in attendance, an investor perk the CEO said the company stopped offering in the mid-1990s.
Iger also said Aulani, Disney’s Hawaiian resort, will open in August.
Disney gained 80 cents to $42.24 at 4:01 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have advanced 13 percent this year.