Disney Board Shuffle: Former Sky Chief Jeremy Darroch, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman Appointed Directors As Francis A. deSouza Plans To Surrender His Seat

The Walt Disney Co. has added former Group CEO of Sky Jeremy Darroch and Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman to its board of directors and said Francis A. deSouza plans to surrender his seat at the end of his term.

The corporate announcement follows an appearance by CEO Bob Iger at The New York Times DealBook Summit, during which he addressed an activist push by investor Nelson Peltz. Along with former Marvel chief Ike Perlmutter, Peltz is seeking to gain seats on Disney’s board. “I am certain that the board will hear them out as to what their plans are,” Iger said of the duo, but added, “It’s not like we have a number of empty seats.”

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Darroch’s appointment is effective January 9, 2024, Disney said, and Gorman’s takes effect on February 5, 2024.

The nominations of Gorman and Darroch to the board will be voted on by shareholders at Disney’s annual meeting in early 2024. In a press release, Disney said deSouza “has decided not to stand for reelection at the annual meeting, as he pursues new opportunities in the technology sector that will require his full attention.”

Gorman and Darroch were chosen after “a lengthy and comprehensive search” starting last April, the press release said.

“James and Jeremy are both widely respected leaders in their industries, and their expertise will complement the talents and experience of the Disney board as we continue to focus on delivering for consumers and shareholders alike,” Board Chairman Mark Parker said. “In the 14 years that James has been CEO of Morgan Stanley, he has overseen a strategic transformation of the institution and delivered significant shareholder value, and was integral to Morgan Stanley’s well-managed succession process over the past year.”

Darroch, he continued, “brings extensive leadership in the international media business, and during his tenure at Sky, he led Sky’s successful transition from a linear satellite broadcaster to one of Europe’s largest multi-platform TV providers.”

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