Steve Jobs family absent from Disney board despite stake

Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:14pm EST
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By Jessica Wohl

(Reuters) - When Disney shareholders vote to re-elect directors at its annual meeting in March, neither Steve Jobs' wife nor a representative from his trust will be on the ballot, even though the trust is the media company's largest shareholder.

According to Walt Disney Co's proxy, filed on Friday, directors standing for re-election include Robert Iger, Disney's president and chief executive; Aylwin Lewis, the president and CEO of Potbelly Sandwich Works and a former executive at Sears and Kmart; and Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook Inc.

Jobs' wife, Laurene, is absent from the list and none of the members standing for re-election represents his estate.

Jobs, who passed away in October, had been on Disney's board since May 2006, when Disney bought his company Pixar. Jobs, best known for founding Apple Inc, passed away at the age of 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

He was enlisted for the Disney board to help provide guidance and help steer the media company through the digital disruption that was wreaking havoc on its business.

Disney, which generates some $40 billion in annual revenue, is grappling with global economic uncertainty and its impact on its three largest divisions: media, its movie studio and theme park resorts. Its brands include Disney, ABC and ESPN.

In its proxy filing on Friday, Disney said that 10 of its 11 current board members would stand for re-election.

Representatives for Disney did not immediately respond to inquiries about whether Jobs' wife or a member of his trust was offered a seat on its board. Apple declined to comment about whether they were offered or turned down a position in Steve Jobs' absence.   Continued...

<p>Robert Iger, president and chief executive officer of Walt Disney Co, speaks during a news conference after the ground breaking ceremony of the Shanghai Disneyland theme park in Pudong of Shanghai April 8, 2011. REUTERS/Aly Song</p>