Steve Jobs Re-Elected to Disney Board Despite Advisory Firm's Suggestion

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The firm had questioned whether he should be on the board due to his missing about 75% of the meetings last year, presumably because of illness.

Disney shareholders on Wednesday rejected the opinion of an advisory firm and re-elected Steve Jobs to the board, overlooking the fact that he has missed about 75% of the meetings last year.

Jobs' absences are presumably because of an illness that also prompted him to take a leave as CEO of Apple. Shareholder advisory firm Glass Lewis & Co. had recommended that investors not re-elect Jobs to the Disney board.

The Disney shareholders, voting at their annual meeting, this time in Salt Lake City, also re-elected the company's 12 other board nominees.

This year's meeting was mostly void of controversy. At one point, in fact, an attendee said he "loved" CEO Bob Iger "very, very much," as opposed to how the shareholder felt about Iger's predecessor, Michael Eisner, whom he disparaged.

What drama there was Wednesday was provided by several California theme park employees who complained that Disney hasn't settled a four-year dispute with their union.

As a union member did last year, one asked Iger to defend the fact that he earns more than 1,300 times the salary of a hospitality worker at the California parks. Another claimed that a contract now in negotiation would cause him to "lose" his health care.

One bellman read stories of hardship from ill and injured co-workers who say their health care is inadequate. He also expressed solidarity with union workers in Wisconsin who are fighting the governor there to retain certain collective bargaining rights.

Iger defended the compensation Disney pays its workers, saying it is on par or better than the rest of the industry and said the contract on the table includes choices of various health plans to choose from as well as guaranteed raises.

Iger and the other Disney executives and board members in attendance -- Jobs did not attend -- showed the shareholders several movie trailers and a 10-minute short that featured the Toy Story characters in Hawaii.

As per usual, one shareholder pleaded for Disney to issue on DVD or make available for streaming Song of the South, a 1946 movie considered racially inappropriate by today's standards. Iger dismissed the suggestion.

"Just remember it as it was, and don't expect to see it again," he said.

Iger also declined the opportunity to commit to greenlighting another Tron film.

Speaking to a serviceman, Iger thanked the U.S. military and noted some of the initiatives Disney has engaged in to make their jobs a tad more pleasant, which he called "a critical part of our outreach and citizenship." The remarks generated loud applause.

A man who has owned stock since the 1960s complained that Disney no longer gives free theme park tickets to those who attend the shareholders meeting.

"I don't know when we stopped and became so chintzy," the man complained, drawing some laughter. "What would Walt Disney say?"

Iger said the policy ended in the '90s when 10,000 people would show up to the meetings. He then promised that all attendees who left their names and contact information would get free tickets.

Board member John Pepper Jr. joked that the empty seats were suddenly filling up as shareholders tweeted Iger's off-the-cuff decision to hand out freebies. 

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