Calpers Backs Split of Disney Chairman-CEO Roles After Iger

Calpers, the largest U.S. pension fund, is supporting calls for Walt Disney Co. to split the roles of chairman and chief executive officer after Robert Iger’s tenure.

The pension fund backs the Burbank, California-based company’s board nominees, along with its executive compensation and bonus plans, ahead of Disney’s March 6 annual meeting in Phoenix, according to a website statement. The fund owns 5.07 million Disney shares.

“Calpers believes if the chairman was not the CEO, the board may be able to exercise stronger oversight of management,” the pension fund said.

With the votes, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System sided with Calstrs, the state teachers’ fund, in the non-binding poll on top management roles. It also backed Calstrs on a proposal to give large investors more clout in director nominations. Calpers isn’t opposing the company’s board nominees, as the other fund has.

Disney, which has defended its governance and cited the company’s industry-leading returns, gained 0.2 percent to $54.59 at the close in New York. The stock has advanced 9.6 percent this year.

“Disney’s performance during Mr. Iger’s tenure has been nothing short of spectacular,” the company in a statement this week, citing a 76 percent shareholder return in the year that ended in September. “Disney has delivered results that speak for themselves.”

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