Chief executive officers at America’s big companies often get obscene pay packages paying them tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars a year. Shareholders often vote against these, but boards rarely pay attention. If 2021 did not set a record for CEO pay, it came close.
However, the latest deal for Disney CEO Bob Chapek takes obscene to an entirely new level. Disney’s shares are off 45% in the past year. The renewal is for three years. Susan Arnold, Disney’s board chair, commented “Disney was dealt a tough hand by the pandemic, yet with Bob at the helm, our businesses — from parks to streaming — not only weathered the storm, but emerged in a position of strength.” In fact, the comment is incorrect.
Disney’s failure goes beyond Chapek’s mishandling of a battle in Florida over a bill that would undercut the rights of schools to teach about gender identity. Chapek sat on the sidelines until his own employees protested.
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The growth of online streaming system Disney+ has slowed. It will be blocked by stiff competition from Netflix, Amazon and other streamers. This is not a reason to punish Chapek, but he has not offered a strong strategy to help Disney increase subscribers substantially.
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For years, Disney has been among the most admired companies in America. Chapek has killed that and had his contract renewed at the same time.
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