Disney annual meeting: What to watch for on Thursday

Disney annual meeting: What to watch for on Thursday
Walt Disney Co. headquarters in Burbank. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

Walt Disney Co.'s annual meeting in San Francisco on Thursday comes as the Burbank entertainment giant rides a hot streak.

In February, Disney reported profit of $2.2 billion for the fiscal first quarter that ended Dec. 27. Its recent hit "Big Hero 6" won the Oscar for best animated feature at last month's Academy Awards. And its forthcoming live-action remake of "Cinderella" is projected to perform well at the box office when it debuts on Friday.

Shareholders on Thursday will be asked to elect 10 members of its board of directors and consider two shareholder proposals.

In the first of two proposals, investors will vote on whether to adopt a policy that would eventually separate the chairman and chief executive positions after Robert Iger departs the company. The proposal has been put forward by James McRitchie, who publishes a website that tracks corporate governance issues.

According to the proposal, which is included in the proxy statement Disney filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in January, McRitchie has argued that a split of the positions would "bring more accountability and oversight to the CEO’s job and ... free the board to truly act as the CEO’s boss."

This is not a new issue: Shareholders voted down a similar proposal in 2013.

Disney's board recommends a vote against the new proposal, according to the company's proxy.

In the second measure, which has been proposed by activist investor William Steiner, shareholders will vote on whether to limit accelerated executive pay. Disney's board has recommended a vote against the proposal.

The board also will consider ratifying the selection of PricewaterhouseCoopers as its independent registered public accountant.

Besides that official agenda, it's also possible that Disney could make announcements at the meeting that pique the interest of consumers.

In recent years, the shareholder gatherings have been used by Disney to reveal tidbits about its upcoming film projects and theme park developments.

Last year, Iger divulged plot points of the company's forthcoming "Star Wars" film, which is slated for release in December, and said that the company's Pixar Animation Studios would make a sequel to the 2004 hit "The Incredibles."

In 2013, Disney unveiled the first computer rendering of its roughly $5-billion Shanghai Disney Resort, which will open in spring 2016.

Shares of Disney closed down 20 cents to $102.89 on Wednesday.

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