Disney investors talk Jobs security


The recession, creative excellence and the health of Steve Jobs all played roles in Disney's annual shareholder meeting Tuesday in Oakland, Calif.

CEO Robert Iger told shareholders that Disney is confident it will keep its creative successes going despite "the most difficult economic (period) in our lifetime."

"I'm confident that our brands, our products and our people can overcome (these challenges)," he said.

Shareholders on Tuesday re-elected all 12 board members but voted against three shareholder proposals, including two high- profile proposals on executive pay. One widely watched proposal asked for a nonbinding, advisory vote on the pay packages of top Disney executives. The "say on pay" initiative made Disney one of about 100 companies that will face such proposals this shareholder season.

During a Q&A, the health of Jobs, a Disney board member and its largest individual shareholder, played a key role. One investor wished Jobs, who wasn't in attendance, good health but asked for contingency plans in case the exec has to leave his Disney board post or his shares end up on the open market in the case of an untimely death.

"We have not thought at all" about the issue, beyond thinking about his best health, Disney chairman John Pepper said. "It's not something we worry about." Executives added that Jobs and his family make all decisions about his Disney stake.

Pepper on Tuesday lauded Iger and his work, saying Disney under his leadership "has taken advantage more than ever of the exciting characters and properties this company has."

Iger cited "WALL-E" and its Oscar for best animated feature as a prime example of Disney's creative touch.

Shareholders responded with much applause when Iger unveiled a trailer for the upcoming animated feature "Up" and an unfinished scene from 2-D-animated "The Princess and the Frog," which Disney on Tuesday moved up two weeks in the release-date calendar to Dec. 11, with exclusive openings Nov. 25 in New York and Los Angeles. The move avoids head-to-head competition with Fox's "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel."

After the nearly 21/2-hour meeting, Disney shares closed up 6.5% at $16.61. (partialdiff)