Disney Appoints Former US Trade Rep Michael Froman to Board of Directors

The Walt Disney Co. said on Thursday that it has elected Ambassador Micheal Froman to the company’s board of directors.

Froman, a former U.S. trade representative, currently serves as the vice chairman and president of strategic growth at Mastercard. Disney is banking on Froman’s wealth of experience in international markets from his time with the government.

“Given his broad experience and extraordinary career spanning both the public and private sectors, Mike brings a unique perspective that will be extremely valuable as we continue to build the future of Disney,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “In particular, his keen insights into finance, international trade, and government partnerships make him a great fit for our Board during this dynamic era of innovation and global growth.”

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Froman’s election to the board is effective immediately, bringing the company’s director total to 11, after shareholders elected 10 directors during the company’s annual meeting in March.

“The Walt Disney Company is an iconic brand that has the power to inspire generation after generation,” Froman said in a statement. “I am honored to join the Board and share my experiences and insights to help this great company explore new opportunities around the world.”

Froman was named Mastercard’s vice chairman and president of strategic growth in April. In this role, he is responsible for building and expanding strategic partnerships and advancing the company’s efforts to partner with governments, NGOs and other institutions to address major societal and economic issues. He also oversees Mastercard’s center for inclusive growth, working to ensure economic growth opportunities are extended to all segments of society.

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Before Mastercard, Froman served as U.S. trade rep from 2013 to 2017, negotiating major international trade partnerships and investment opportunities on behalf of the U.S. Prior to that he served as assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs under President Barack Obama.

Mr. Froman’s previous private sector experience includes several leadership positions at Citigroup, including CEO of Citi insurance and COO of Citi’s $50 billion alternative investments business. He’s also served in the Clinton administration, holding positions both at the U.S. Department of Treasury and the White House.

In July, Disney shareholders voted to approve the acquisition of Fox’s film and TV entertainment assets $71.3 billion. The deal, which Disney hopes will help increase its scale overseas, is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

The deal will see Fox will fork over ownership of its Twentieth Century Fox film and TV studios, as well as certain cable and international television businesses, according to the companies’ joint merger proposal to shareholders. Fox retains control of a portfolio of news, sports and broadcast businesses, including the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, Fox Television Stations Group, and sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network, and certain other assets.

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The Walt Disney Co. said on Thursday that it has elected Ambassador Micheal Froman to the company’s board of directors.

Froman, a former U.S. trade representative, currently serves as the vice chairman and president of strategic growth at Mastercard. Disney is banking on Froman’s wealth of experience in international markets from his time with the government.

“Given his broad experience and extraordinary career spanning both the public and private sectors, Mike brings a unique perspective that will be extremely valuable as we continue to build the future of Disney,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “In particular, his keen insights into finance, international trade, and government partnerships make him a great fit for our Board during this dynamic era of innovation and global growth.”

Froman’s election to the board is effective immediately, bringing the company’s director total to 11, after shareholders elected 10 directors during the company’s annual meeting in March.

“The Walt Disney Company is an iconic brand that has the power to inspire generation after generation,” Froman said in a statement. “I am honored to join the Board and share my experiences and insights to help this great company explore new opportunities around the world.”

Froman was named Mastercard’s vice chairman and president of strategic growth in April. In this role, he is responsible for building and expanding strategic partnerships and advancing the company’s efforts to partner with governments, NGOs and other institutions to address major societal and economic issues. He also oversees Mastercard’s center for inclusive growth, working to ensure economic growth opportunities are extended to all segments of society.

Before Mastercard, Froman served as U.S. trade rep from 2013 to 2017, negotiating major international trade partnerships and investment opportunities on behalf of the U.S. Prior to that he served as assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs under President Barack Obama.

Mr. Froman’s previous private sector experience includes several leadership positions at Citigroup, including CEO of Citi insurance and COO of Citi’s $50 billion alternative investments business. He’s also served in the Clinton administration, holding positions both at the U.S. Department of Treasury and the White House.

In July, Disney shareholders voted to approve the acquisition of Fox’s film and TV entertainment assets $71.3 billion. The deal, which Disney hopes will help increase its scale overseas, is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

The deal will see Fox will fork over ownership of its Twentieth Century Fox film and TV studios, as well as certain cable and international television businesses, according to the companies’ joint merger proposal to shareholders. Fox retains control of a portfolio of news, sports and broadcast businesses, including the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, Fox Television Stations Group, and sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network, and certain other assets.

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CBS said its Board of Directors is in the process of selecting outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations facing Chairman and CEO Les Moonves. The board also postponed the annual shareholder meeting, which had been set for August 10. The meeting had already been pushed back from May amid the legal war between CBS and shareholder National Amusements. No other action was taken on the matter at today's board meeting, the company said. The…

Shari Redstone Says CBS Board Member Grabbed Her Face in ‘Intimidating’ Manner

Shari Redstone has pushed for the removal Charles Gifford from CBS’s board of directors  after she said Gifford acted “in an intimidating and bullying manner” on two occasions in the last two years, according to a new court filing from the Redstone family company, National Amusements.

According to the new complaint, filed with a Delaware court on Tuesday, Gifford in one instance grabbed Redstone by the face and directed that she listen to him.

Gifford, chairman emeritus of Bank of America since 2005, joined the CBS board in 2006.

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The jarring claim stood out in the filing, which pushed back against CBS’ effort to dilute NAI’s nearly 80 percent control of the company.

Gifford’s continued presence on the CBS board was a “principal open issue” when Redstone met with CBS CEO Les Moonves earlier this month to discuss a potential CBS-Viacom merger, according to the filing.

Redstone had raised concerns about Gifford on  multiple occasions, according to the filing, and his presence on the board of a combined CBS-Viacom was a linchpin issue.

“Ms. Redstone again reiterated her discomfort with Mr. Gifford’s continuing service on the CBS Board. Ms. Redstone explained that, on two occasions in 2016 and 2017, Mr. Gifford had acted in an intimidating and bullying manner, including on one occasion by grabbing her face and directing her to listen to him,” National Amusements said in the filing.

“Ms. Redstone proposed that the matter be handled privately and discreetly by not nominating Mr. Gifford to the board of the new combined company or, in the event of no merger, by not including him in the CBS- recommended slate.”

In the filing, National Amusements said that upon hearing Redstone was upset by his conduct, Gifford told her that was how he treats his daughters when he wants their attention and that he meant no offense. Redstone clarified she was not his daughter, but instead the vice chairwoman of CBS.

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CBS, in its lawsuit against Redstone and National Amusements, has voice concerns that Redstone would move to replace members of the CBS board in order to push through a merger with Viacom. It’s unclear whether any of those concerns stem from conversations around tensions with Gifford.

The media company responded to Redstone’s claim, calling it a baseless personal attack simply attempting to rid ownership of a director it disagrees with.

“Ms. Redstone’s issue with Mr. Gifford is that he has always operated by an entirely different definition of what it means to be an independent director — namely to act in the best interest of all CBS shareholders,” CBS said in an emailed statement to TheWrap. “As a result of Mr. Gifford’s steadfast belief in good corporate governance, it is unfortunate and revealing that NAI has resorted to baseless personal attacks that are clearly tied to the execution of Mr. Gifford’s duties in this matter.”

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Shari Redstone has pushed for the removal Charles Gifford from CBS’s board of directors  after she said Gifford acted “in an intimidating and bullying manner” on two occasions in the last two years, according to a new court filing from the Redstone family company, National Amusements.

According to the new complaint, filed with a Delaware court on Tuesday, Gifford in one instance grabbed Redstone by the face and directed that she listen to him.

Gifford, chairman emeritus of Bank of America since 2005, joined the CBS board in 2006.

The jarring claim stood out in the filing, which pushed back against CBS’ effort to dilute NAI’s nearly 80 percent control of the company.

Gifford’s continued presence on the CBS board was a “principal open issue” when Redstone met with CBS CEO Les Moonves earlier this month to discuss a potential CBS-Viacom merger, according to the filing.

Redstone had raised concerns about Gifford on  multiple occasions, according to the filing, and his presence on the board of a combined CBS-Viacom was a linchpin issue.

“Ms. Redstone again reiterated her discomfort with Mr. Gifford’s continuing service on the CBS Board. Ms. Redstone explained that, on two occasions in 2016 and 2017, Mr. Gifford had acted in an intimidating and bullying manner, including on one occasion by grabbing her face and directing her to listen to him,” National Amusements said in the filing.

“Ms. Redstone proposed that the matter be handled privately and discreetly by not nominating Mr. Gifford to the board of the new combined company or, in the event of no merger, by not including him in the CBS- recommended slate.”

In the filing, National Amusements said that upon hearing Redstone was upset by his conduct, Gifford told her that was how he treats his daughters when he wants their attention and that he meant no offense. Redstone clarified she was not his daughter, but instead the vice chairwoman of CBS.

CBS, in its lawsuit against Redstone and National Amusements, has voice concerns that Redstone would move to replace members of the CBS board in order to push through a merger with Viacom. It’s unclear whether any of those concerns stem from conversations around tensions with Gifford.

The media company responded to Redstone’s claim, calling it a baseless personal attack simply attempting to rid ownership of a director it disagrees with.

“Ms. Redstone’s issue with Mr. Gifford is that he has always operated by an entirely different definition of what it means to be an independent director — namely to act in the best interest of all CBS shareholders,” CBS said in an emailed statement to TheWrap. “As a result of Mr. Gifford’s steadfast belief in good corporate governance, it is unfortunate and revealing that NAI has resorted to baseless personal attacks that are clearly tied to the execution of Mr. Gifford’s duties in this matter.”

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