Facebook Inc.’s Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter Inc.’s Jack Dorsey are stepping down from Walt Disney Co.’s board as the increasing competition between media and technology companies creates new conflicts.
Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, and Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive officer, aren’t running for re-election at the annual meeting scheduled for March 8, according to a Disney filing Friday. Orin Smith, the 75-year-old lead independent director, and Robert Matschullat, 70, also won’t stand for re-election because of term and age limits for board members.
“Given our evolving business and the businesses Ms. Sandberg and Mr. Dorsey are in, it has become increasingly difficult for them to avoid conflicts relating to board matters,” Disney said in a statement.
The changes will leave the Disney board with one fewer director than last year as the company pursues its proposed $52.4 billion acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox Inc. As the entertainment industry continues to consolidate and the worlds of Silicon Valley and Hollywood merge, Disney’s board has at times found itself having to deal with conflicts of interest.
Two years ago Disney pursued an acquisition of Twitter, Dorsey’s company. Twitter and Facebook have also bid on and won the rights to stream live sporting events, a bedrock business for Disney and its ESPN network.
SOURCE: Christopher Palmeri