Florida pension plan supported Disney CEO Bob Iger in proxy fight

Bob Iger
Bob Iger retained control of his company board last week.

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger won control of his company board with the backing of a surprise ally — the state of Florida.

Florida’s pension plan voted in favor of Iger and 10 of the 12 Disney-backed board members at last week’s annual shareholder meeting although it voted against Iger’s and other executives’ compensation. Iger was paid $31.6 million in 2023.

Iger won his proxy battle last week when he got enough votes to keep billionaire shareholder activist Nelson Peltz off the board. The executive compensation proposal backed by Disney also passed.

The Florida State Board of Administration (FSBA) withheld a vote on Peltz, according to its voting disclosure record posted on its website.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had famously feuded with Disney for years, serves as a trustee to provide oversight to the FSBA, alongside Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Attorney General Ashley Moody.

The pension plan that represents nearly all Florida’s public employees — from state employees, teachers, firefighters and most police officers — owned, as of March 31, about 2.53 million shares of Disney stock, worth about $288 million — a small amount of its giant stock portfolio, according to a spokesman for the FSBA.

The FSBA withheld votes on two of Disney-supported incumbent board members, Maria Elena Lagomasino and Derica W. Rice.

FSBA explained its rationale by saying online of Lagomasino that there were “concerns about pay design/executive compensation. Insufficient disclosure of long-term incentive plan performance goals.”

As to Rice, she “serves on too many boards. Over-boarding concerns,” the FSBA said in its online disclosure.

FSBA also voted against Disney-backed proposal to approve executive compensation, saying there was “insufficient disclosure of long-term incentive plan performance goals and short performance period under long-term incentive plan.”

FSBA’s vote was first reported by POLITICO’s Gary Fineout.

DeSantis’ legal fight against Disney appears to be ending.

The entertainment giant settled a pair of lawsuits in state court last month against DeSantis appointees on the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board, formerly known as Reedy Creek.

A federal Judge also granted a two-month stay, pausing the litigation between Disney and DeSantis and the tourism board. The lawsuit had previously been dismissed but Disney was appealing the decision.

Disney filed the First Amendment lawsuit last year after Florida lawmakers passed legislation targeting Disney and stripping away the company control of its governing board after Disney spoke out against a law banning instruction of gender identity or sexual orientation in the classroom.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


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  • Dont Say FLA

    April 17, 2024 at 3:03 pm

    I finally sat down and watched Disney’s live action Little Mermaid the other day. I liked it. I actually thought it was really good.

    So what in tarnation is it that has all the MAGAs all riled up all the time about Disney?

    After seeing that movie, all I can think of for the most likely root cause for MAGA is “I’m old” and “get off my lawn”

    I just don’t get it. I guess I must have missed something. I liked the cartoon Little Mermaid so many years ago, and I also like the live action Little Mermaid that came out a few years back when MAGA started being crybabies about every form of entertainment, but what are they even crying about? Is “streaming” too confusing for them and they’re frustrated?

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