The Walt Disney Co. board of directors today (June 28, 2006) elected independent Disney director and former Procter & Gamble chairman/ceo John E. Pepper, Jr., to serve as non-executive chairman of the board, effective Jan. 1, 2007. Pepper succeeds Senator George J. Mitchell, who has served as Disney chairman since March 2004.
Last December, the Disney board asked Mitchell to postpone his planned retirement at the 2006 Annual Meeting of Shareholders and stand for re-election to facilitate an orderly chairman succession process. With a successor as chairman now in place, Mitchell will step down as chairman and retire from the board on Dec. 31.
Since joining the Disney Board, John has quickly immersed himself in our business and shared his broad and deep expertise in corporate management, global brand building and leadership development, said Robert A. Iger, president/ceo, The Walt Disney Co. In Johns leadership of the board, Disneys shareholders will benefit from his notable record of success in leading and growing one of the worlds largest consumer products companies. He is a man of great integrity and we all look forward to working with him in his new role.
I have had the distinct pleasure of working closely with Sen. Mitchell for many years, both as a director and as chairman, added Iger. He is an extraordinary leader with numerous and significant accomplishments both nationally and internationally. The Walt Disney Co. has benefited greatly from Georges wisdom and leadership, and I am deeply appreciative of having him as our chairman during my first year as ceo.
Mitchell said, During the past year, the board undertook a very thoughtful and deliberative approach to the chairman succession process. With the election of John as chairman, Disney will benefit from his outstanding leadership skills and unique experience in cultivating global brands. It has been a true privilege for me to serve the shareholders of Disney and we will now begin a smooth transition with John.
Pepper, 67, was named chairman/ceo of Procter & Gamble in 1995 and retired from the company in 2002, after 38 years of service. In 2003, he retired as chairman of the exec committee of the Procter & Gamble board. He helped lead P&Gs business in developing markets, particularly Eastern and Central Europe and China. From 2004 to 2006 he was vp for finance and administration at Yale University. Pepper currently serves as ceo of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
Pepper began his career with P&G in 1963, was named gm of Procter & Gamble Italia in 1974 and was upped to group vp in 1980. In 1984, Pepper was elected to the companys board of directors and was named president of P&G in 1986. He served as successor trustee of the Yale Corp. from 1995 to 2003, which included election by his peers to the post of senior fellow for his last two years.
Pepper is a director of Boston Scientific Corp. and of PSI (Population Services International), and serves on the executive committee of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative.
Pepper said, I am incredibly honored to be elected the next chairman of the worlds preeminent entertainment company. The board recognizes the trust investors have placed in us with respect to corporate governance and long-term shareholder value creation. I look forward to continuing my close collaboration with the directors and senior management as the company takes full advantage of the significant and exciting opportunities before us to grow and build our brands and businesses worldwide.