Analysis: What To Expect From This Week's Disney Board Meeting In Florida

Zinger Key Points
  • We can't talk about Bruno, but will Disney talk about Gov. Ron DeSantis?
  • Will the board extend CEO Bob Chapek's contract, or will that be put off until September's meeting?

The 11-member board of directors of the Walt Disney Co. DIS will begin a two-day meeting today in Florida. While there has not been a release of the meeting's agenda, here is what Disney observers might expect from this happening.

Why Florida?: Considering the company’s contentious relationship with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state's Republican-majority legislature, bringing the meeting to the Sunshine State might seem a tad peculiar.

However, the Financial Times reports the newest Disney cruise ship, Wish, is being launched on Wednesday at Port Canaveral, so the leadership of the company needs to be present to signal its position within the cruise industry after roughly two years of COVID-induced setbacks.

See Also: Benzinga's four-part series "The Crisis at Disney"

Local Controversies: While Disney moviegoers know that we’re not supposed to talk about Bruno, there is the question of whether the company will use its Florida-based meeting to talk about the ongoing feud with DeSantis over the dissolution of Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District and its decision to halt the relocation of thousands of California jobs to Florida.

Of course, there is the issue of the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Under a new Florida law that DeSantis signed in April that goes into effect on July 1, abortions are banned after 15 weeks. This law was inspired by the Mississippi law that predicated the Supreme Court ruling and it reduces the state’s window from the previous 24 weeks.

Disney is among the major corporations that pledged to cover the costs for employees who need to travel out of state for an abortion. However, since Florida is not among the states with so-called trigger laws that immediately banned abortions with the overturn of Roe v. Wade, it is unlikely the board will single it out for criticism.

Chapek, The Sequel: At its last meeting three weeks ago, the Disney board gave a vote of confidence to CEO Bob Chapek despite a growing skein of missteps since he took the leadership reins from Bob Iger in February 2020.

Chapek’s contract expires in February 2023, and there is the possibility that it will vote on whether to extend his contract further. However, reported the board has another meeting in September. Considering the contract extension did not accompany the confidence vote, it would be easy to assume to the board will be delaying that decision until closer to the contract expiration date.

Trading Action: Disney shares opened for trading today at $97.78, closer to the lower end of the 52-week range of $92.01 to $187.58.

Photo: Abhilash Jacob / Pixabay

See Also: Disney And Paramount To Re-Release 'Titanic' In Theaters For Valentine's Day 2023

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Posted In: EntertainmentNewsPoliticsOpinionExclusivesGeneralBob ChapekFloridaRoe v. WadeRon DeSantisWalt Disney Co.
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