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.
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.
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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