New MacBook Pros are here! Get the lowest prices anywhere: Apple Price Guides updated Sept 22nd (exclusive coupons)
 


Monday, March 21, 2011, 11:00 pm PT (02:00 am ET)

Labor union votes against Steve Jobs' reelection to Disney board

A prominent federation of labor unions has voted against the reelection of Steve Jobs to the board of directors of the Walt Disney Co., while an influential shareholder advisory firm has questioned whether Jobs is fit to remain on the company's board.

Ahead of the Walt Disney Co.'s annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times reports that the labor union federation AFL-CIO, which collectively holds 3.8 million Disney shares, has voted against the reelection of Jobs to the media conglomerate's board of directors. Representatives for the union cited Jobs' full-time responsibilities as chief executive at Apple and recent absenteeism, partially due to recent medical complications, as reasons to vote against him.

According to the report, shareholder advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services stopped short of recommending a vote against Jobs, but questioned whether Jobs' poor attendance at Disney board meetings in recent years has affected his performance as a director.

“Jobs’ poor attendance in three of the past four years, and recent leave of absence from his primary employer, raises questions about his ability to fulfill his responsibilities as a director of the company,” ISS wrote in a recommendation to shareholders.

A January regulatory filing from Disney noted that health considerations had prevented Jobs from attending board meetings. After battling pancreatic cancer in 2004, Jobs received a liver transplant in 2009. In January, Jobs announced that he would take a leave of absence from Apple to focus on his health. Jobs remains the CEO of the company, while COO Tim Cook has taken over the day to day operations.

Jobs earned his seat on the Disney board in 2006 as part of a deal whereby the conglomerate purchased Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion. With more than a 50 percent stake in Pixar, Jobs' subsequent 7 percent stake in Disney was valued at $4 billion in 2006. Last August, Forbes estimated Jobs' share of the Walt Disney Co. to be worth $4.4 billion and his total worth to be $6.2 billion, making him the 42nd wealthiest American according to the magazine's annual list.

For its part, Apple has also come under fire from shareholders who demand greater disclosure from the company about Jobs. ISS and the Central Laborers' Pension Fund backed a shareholder proposal that called for Apple to release a CEO succession plan, citing concerns over Jobs' health as cause for greater transparency. However, the proposal was rejected at Apple's annual shareholder meeting in February.