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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Facebook's Sandberg, Twitter's Dorsey to leave Disney board

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Facebook Inc Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter Inc Chief Executive Jack Dorsey will not seek re-election to Walt Disney Co's board because of growing conflicts of interest between the media giant and the technology companies, Disney said on Friday.

Disney is moving heavily into online delivery of its TV shows and movies as viewers abandon traditional cable, and at one point had explored an acquisition of Twitter. At the same time, Twitter and Facebook are trying to attract audiences to video content on their platforms.

"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, and they are not standing for re-election," Disney said in a statement. Lead independent director Orin Smith, former CEO of Starbucks Corp, also will leave Disney's board, due to rules that specify retirement at age 74, the company said. Former Seagram Company vice chairman Robert Matschullat will depart because of a 15-year term limit.

The departures take effect in March at the time of Disney's annual meeting, when shareholders will be asked to re-elect 10 other board members. They include General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Nike Inc CEO Mark Parker and Oracle CEO Safra Catz, whose election in December to the board takes effect on Feb. 1.

The board will select a new lead independent director when it meets after the annual meeting, Disney said. Representatives for Facebook and Twitter had no comment. Disney also disclosed on Friday that compensation for its chief executive, Robert Iger, declined by 17 percent in fiscal 2017 to $36.3 million.  Iger was awarded a smaller cash bonus due to the "absence of growth" in the year that ended Sept. 30, according to a regulatory filing.

-Reuters, Los Angeles

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