Burbank, Calif., (June 28, 2006) – The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) Board of Directors today elected independent Disney Director and former Procter & Gamble Chairman and CEO, John E. Pepper, Jr., to serve as non-executive Chairman of the Board, effective January 1, 2007. Pepper will succeed Senator George J. Mitchell, who has served as Disney Chairman since March, 2004.
Last December, the Disney Board of Directors requested that Senator Mitchell postpone his planned retirement at the 2006 Annual Meeting of Shareholders and stand for re-election to facilitate an orderly chairman succession process. With the selection of his successor as Chairman now in place, Senator Mitchell will step down as Chairman and retire from the Board on December 31, 2006.
“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 and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “In John’s leadership of the Board, Disney’s shareholders will benefit from his notable record of success in leading and growing one of the world’s 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 Senator 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 Company has benefited greatly from George’s wisdom and leadership, and I am deeply appreciative of having him as our Chairman during my first year as CEO. “
Senator Mitchell stated, “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.”
John Pepper said, “I am incredibly honored to be elected the next Chairman of the world’s 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.”
John E. Pepper, Jr.
John Pepper, 67, was named chairman and chief executive officer 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 Executive Committee of the Procter & Gamble Board. As CEO of Procter & Gamble he helped lead the company’s business in developing markets, particularly Eastern and Central Europe and China. From 2004 to 2006 he was vice president for Finance and Administration at Yale University. Pepper currently serves as CEO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
Pepper began his career with Procter & Gamble in 1963, was named general manager of Procter & Gamble Italia in 1974 and promoted to group vice president in 1980. In 1984, Pepper was elected to the company’s board of directors and in 1986 was named president. He served as Successor Trustee of the Yale Corporation from 1995 to 2003, which included election by his peers to the post of senior fellow for his last 2 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.