Disney CEO Bob Iger vanquishes billionaire foe Nelson Peltz in battle over board

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Disney CEO Bob Iger on Wednesday fended off an aggressive challenge by activist investors seeking to take the company in a new direction, averting what would have been a stunning embarrassment for one of Hollywood’s leading executives.

The entertainment conglomerate’s corporate leadership was facing a bold attack from billionaire activist investor Nelson Peltz, who loudly pushed the company to come up with a concrete succession plan and derided efforts to make more diverse movies and shows.

But that crusade fell short, as Disney shareholders approved board members backed by the current company leadership, denying seats for Peltz and his ally Jay Rasulo, a former chief financial officer at Disney.

Iger’s victory comes at a key juncture for a company that has found itself at the center of wider American culture wars as it attempts to navigate dizzying changes in the media landscape, including the rise of streaming, the decline of traditional television and growing competition from social media.