CEO Bob Iger announced his new policy at Disney’s annual shareholder meeting in response to an investor question. He said that he will “absolutely prohibit” depiction of smoking in Disney films with a PG-13 rating or below, unless they involve an historical figure who smoked.
“I thought it was the right thing for us to do,” he said about the decision — which he says he made over the last 48 hours.
But he stopped short of promising to lobby the MPAA to do the same for R-rated films. “We don’t get involved in how MPAA applies ratings to films….nor do we try to influence the policies of the other studios we compete with,” he said.
In response to another question, Iger declined to take a position on the FCC’s decision to adopt strong net neutrality regulations. Acknowledging that “it’s a big hot button issue,” he says that it’s also complicated and “will not have a material impact on the future of this company.”
Iger’s comments came on a day when Disney shares hovered near a 52-week high — and at a meeting where shareholders overwhelmingly supported management on some controversial governance issues.
Investors sided with Disney directors’ compensation decisions — including Iger’s $43.7 million package last year. They also defeated proposals to separate the CEO and Chairman jobs after Iger leaves, and to bar execs from accelerating their pay options if the company is bought.
Proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis and others urged shareholders to vote against management. But in the preliminary vote, 84% of the shares supported the executive compensation package — up from 80% who supported last year and about 60% the year before. Just 28% supported the move to split the CEO and chairman, and 24% wanted to limit exec pay when there’s a change in control.
Asked by a child at the meeting about what advice he’d give to someone who wants to become a CEO, he said: “Have patience, work hard, enjoy what you do…and just go for it.”