As Disney is making efforts to move online in response to the slow and steady decline of traditional channels, Twitter and Facebook executives opt to quit the company’s board.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, and Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s Chief Executive Officer, will not be running for re-election at the annual meeting scheduled for March 8. This news came from a Disney filing Friday. Orin Smith, the 75-year-old lead independent director, and Robert Matschullat, 70, also will not be standing for re-election because of term and age limits for board members.
“Given our evolving business and the businesses Ms. Sandberg and Mr. Dorsey are in, it has become increasingly difficult for them to avoid conflicts relating to board matters,” Disney said in a statement.
These changes will leave the Disney board with fewer directors than last year as the company pursues its proposed $52.4 Billion acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox Inc. Two years ago, Disney pursued an acquisition of Twitter. Twitter and Facebook have also bid on and won the rights to stream live sporting events, a bedrock business for Disney and its ESPN network.
Facebook has recently made efforts to initiate video programming, a lucrative growth area for the company’s $10.1 billion earning advertising business. Twitter also made attempts towards videos. Dorsey’s firm announced video streaming partnerships in May with 16 media companies, including some Disney competitors. Twitter also has a partnership with Bloomberg LP.
Disney maintained ties to the tech world through its board after Steve Jobs’ death, who was once the company’s largest shareholder.
The entertainment giant named two members to its board in December, tapping CEOs from the software and biotech industries. Safra Catz, co-CEO of software giant Oracle Corp., and Francis Desouza, head of Illumina Inc., will join the board on Feb. 1. General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra became a Disney director in August.
Disney’s board extended CEO Bob Iger’s contract last month for yet another two years, in connection with the proposed Fox acquisition. Iger is now scheduled to leave the company in 2021. This would be the fourth time the company postponed his planned retirement date.