Abigail Disney, the Mouse House heiress turned vocal critic, is reportedly attempting to organize a shareholder challenge of embattled Disney boss Bob Chapek’s $32.5 million payday.
Disney, who has pegged her personal net worth at $120 million, has been “quietly courting” institutional investors to challenge Chapek’s compensation at the company’s next shareholder meeting, The Wrap reported, citing multiple sources familiar with the matter.
The proxy push could mark another embarrassment for Chapek, who has been under fire following a series of missteps at the entertainment giant.
The 62-year-old heiress has reportedly held at least three meetings in an effort to build support for the move, through which participants would reject or potentially seek to claw back some of Chapek’s pay. She has argued that her name recognition would provide the company’s shareholders with a better chance in the fight at the meeting, which will be held next spring.
One unnamed institutional investor approached by Disney reportedly described their meeting as a “very informal discussion that was very serious,” while another investor told The Wrap that the discussion was preliminary in nature.
“Fund managers run into each other at industry events all the time and talk shop,” the investor told the outlet. “And Abigail wanted to know what they thought, what the mood was. She seemed mostly interested in if this was that perfect opportunity for something like this.”
Both a Disney spokesperson and Abigail Disney declined The Wrap’s request for comment on the report.
The Post has reached out to Disney and Abigail Disney’s production company, Fork Films, for further comment.
Chapek, who replaced Bob Iger as Disney CEO in 2020, has faced intense criticism over the botched response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. One former Disney executive reportedly said that the company’s leadership “managed to piss off both the left and the right’ by flip-flopping in reaction to the legislation.
The Chapek-led company faced internal protests from left-leaning workers as well as a public spat with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who revoked the company’s special tax status. The incident sparked speculation that Iger could return to replace Chapek as Disney’s top boss.
More recently, Chapek shocked the entertainment world by firing Disney’s well-regarded TV content executive Peter Rice – a move that reportedly led to “terrible” morale at the Mouse House. Still, Disney Chairman Susan Arnold issued a vote of confidence for Chapek in the wake of that decision.
Disney’s stock has also struggled, sinking 40% during a broader downturn in the market since January and about 46% over the last 12 months.
Abigail Disney’s behind-the-scenes push is the latest sign of her willingness to criticize the company founded by her grandfather, Roy O. Disney.
The heiress co-directed a documentary entitled “The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales,” which called out pay inequality at Disney. Released earlier this year, the film highlighted the struggles of park workers compared to the lifestyle of Iger, who earned $65.6 million in 2018.
Abigail Disney also has a history of criticizing executive pay at Disney – once referring to Iger’s windfall in 2018 as “insane.” At the time, Equilar determined that Iger earned 1,424 times the pay of the median Disney employees.
Chapek’s 2021 compensation of $32.5 million more than doubled his pay from the previous year. The sum included a $10.2 million stock award and $14.3 million through an incentive plan. His contract is due t expire next year.
Shareholder challenges of CEO compensation are relatively common, particularly at large companies, but rarely result in material changes.
The votes are typically non-binding and function as recommendations to a company’s board – though they can be a powerful rebuke and indication of public sentiment about internal management.