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Over 70% of Voting Disney 401k Holders Cast "No Confidence" on Michael Eisner

(April 20, 2004 - NEWSdial.com) Records received yesterday from The Walt Disney Company confirm that Michael Eisner received a No Confidence vote from 72.5% of the votes cast by the Walt Disney Company 401K trustee at the Company's 2004 annual meeting and that George Mitchell received a No Confidence Vote from 63.7% of the votes cast by the Walt Disney Company 401K trustee, said Roy E. Disney and Stanley P. Gold. A total of 28,625,419 votes were cast.

"The simple fact is that the vast majority of people who participate in the company's 401K plans and voted their shares at the annual meeting have No Confidence in either their CEO or their newly-elected chairman," Messrs. Disney and Gold said. "It is hard to imagine how Mr. Eisner can do what needs to be done at this company without the support of the Company's employees."

In response to Disney and Gold's assertions, Disney released the following statement:

"Less than 9,400 of the about 36,000 participants in the employee savings plans actually cast a ballot, which is a turnout of just more than 25 percent. Of the 36,000 only approximately 22,500 (out of our 112,000-person work force) are active employees. While we won't know for certain until later this week if the 9,400 ballots were cast proportionately, if so, fewer that 6,000 would have been cast by active employees and it is completely uncertain at this point how many of those active employees actually cast votes to withhold. Per its previously announced procedure, Fidelity simply voted the entire group of 28.6 million employee plan shares in the same pro-rata proportion as those ballots actually cast. The number of shares cast is less than 1.5 percent of total shares outstanding."

Disney and Gold, however, maintain their criticism of Eisner and the company's handling of the no confidence vote news from yesterday and earlier this year when 43% of voting shareholders cast a no confidence vote against Eisner.

"For the Disney PR department to 'spin' these facts in any other way is insulting and demeaning to the many loyal and dedicated employees who work for Disney; they deserve better -- shareholders expect better," said R Disney and Gold.

"Despite an attempted Disney spin to the contrary, we believe this vote by the company's 401K participants is a meaningful barometer of employee dissatisfaction with the way The Walt Disney Company is being run. The vote was strictly confidential. Plan participants, which include both current and former employees, were given a chance to express their views on Mr. Eisner and the Board without fear of reprisal. As anyone who has done any polling knows, you only need a small sample to get a statistically valid survey. We believe it would be hard to argue that these results are not statistically valid."

"The question remains, how long will this Board ignore the will of the Company's shareholders and now, its employees? The message couldn't be clearer: action must be taken to replace Michael Eisner now," they said.

R. Disney and Gold said that in light of the 26% No Confidence Vote that Mr. Mitchell received from the company's shareholders and the 63.7% No Confidence Vote he received from the votes cast by the Walt Disney Company 401K trustee at the Company's 2004 annual meeting, the Board really has no choice but to re-examine their appointment of Mr. Mitchell to the post of Chairman.

"If Michael Eisner's No Confidence Vote wasn't so staggeringly high, everyone would be talking about the substantial No Confidence Vote cast against Mr. Mitchell," they said. "It's important that this not get lost in the process."

Other Disney News Articles:

Disney Board Criticized for Lack of Action

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