About 56.6% of Disney‘s shares were cast in favor of its controversial executive compensation plan while 42.8% opposed — down from last year when 76.8% supported and 22.7% opposed — according to the preliminary results announced today at the annual meeting in Kansas City. Shareholders also elected the company’s slate of directors; numbers weren’t broken out for each member. Executive pay became a big issue this year after corporate governance analysts Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis & Co urged investors to oppose the package in an advisory vote. Glass Lewis gave Disney a “D” grade on its pay-for-performance analysis — the fourth consecutive year Disney got the grade. “Overall, the Company paid more than its peers, but performed moderately worse than its peers,” the firm said in a recent report. It urged a “no” vote “to signal dissatisfaction with the Company’s executive compensation program and to compel the board and the compensation committee to take corrective action.” ISS also opposed the compensation arrangement, in part to protest the company’s decision to make CEO Bob Iger the company’s chairman as well with the departure of John Pepper. Disney said that the company’s stock has performed well, and that Iger’s role as CEO and chairman will help him to mentor his successor.
Iger unveiled a new program called “Heroes Work Here” designed to promote jobs for veterans. He says Disney will hire at least 1,000 veterans, and will launch a promotion campaign urging others to follow suit. He also lauded the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who was Disney’s largest shareholder. “He wasn’t just a member of our board, an advisor, a supporter and a believer in the company…To me he was a dear friend,” Iger said.