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Beth Kowitt

Disney-Peltz Show Shouldn’t Cast the Board as Villain

CEO succession was a bust, but the company’s board isn’t as bad as the activist investor would have everyone believe.

Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger.

Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger.

Photographer: Jerod Harris/Getty Images North America

Just as Walt Disney Co. announced last week that Chairman Susan Arnold would step off the board after a 15-year run as a director, activist investor Nelson Peltz made public his all-out war against the company.

Queue the palace intrigue. Was Arnold leaving as a concession to Peltz? Or because she wants no part in the nasty proxy battle that’s likely brewing? It’s possible that a bit of both is true. But the overriding factor, and the one Disney has publicly pointed to, is much more boring: term limits. Disney’s board tenure policy caps director service at 15 years, and Arnold’s time simply was up.