Behind the stunning exit of Disney CEO Bob Chapek from the board amid a sexual harassment controversy, Disney’s “insider” board of directors also voted to remove him from the company’s payroll, a measure that drew sharp criticism from the activist investor Carl Icahn, who has worked on several transactions involving the company.
The board’s decision to remove Chapek from the company’s payroll was part of a plan for the company to wind down more than $10 billion in debt in order to free up cash and streamline its operations.
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The board’s move came just a day after the company said it would cut its dividend, which will be reduced to $1 per share from $2 per share, to take the company’s debt to $1.6 billion.
Icahn’s comments came after the activist investor said the company’s financial measures were inadequate and that his “insider” board should have used their leverage to change the company’s corporate governance.
“The board is to ‘do what we say’ and this is not doing anything to change anything,” Icahn told The New York Times. “What has got to change is the culture, and what a culture change is is not changing.”
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Disney’s executive officers have said they are considering a potential sale of the company, which would help the company return to profitability.
Earlier that day, Disney said it would cut its quarterly dividend by two-thirds to return its $70.4 billion in debt to between $1 and 1.6 billion.
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A “strategic review” of Disney has been underway for more than two months, Disney confirmed to The Huffington Post in an email earlier