US - Walt Disney chairman George Mitchell has agreed to arrange a meeting with the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and five other pension funds.
Six of the largest pension funds in the US had called for a meeting with the directors of Walt Disney to discuss the performance and future of the company.
The pension funds had written to George Mitchell, chairman of Disney’s board of directors, requesting an immediate meeting with all members of the Disney board.
“We remain deeply concerned that our investments and the future of this company are in jeopardy. The company has lost more than 20% in stock value over the last five years -- nearly five times more than the losses incurred by the S&P 500 index for the comparable period,” the letter said.
CalPERS said that though the future of Disney’s chief executive was not on the agenda, it stood by statements made earlier, calling for Michael Eisner to step down.
A CalPERS spokesman said: “We believe this is a dire situation and we want a face-to-face meeting to talk about it.”
Responding to the pension funds’ letter, Mitchell said: “We will, of course, be pleased to arrange a meeting as we had previously indicated.
“While Disney has faced a number of challenges in the last several years, to which your letter refers, over the long-term the company's record of creating shareholder value is indisputable.”
The group of investors – with combined assets of more than $500 bn, hold around 34m shares in Disney and include fiduciaries and managers of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and North Carolina Retirement Systems.
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