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Tech Veteran Everson Named to Disney Board

The Walt Disney Co. has announced that Carolyn Everson, a veteran media and technology executive, will join the board of directors effective Nov. 21. 

Everson’s appointment expands the Disney board to 12 members and follows a lengthy and comprehensive search, according to a release from the Burbank-based entertainment and media giant. 

Susan Arnold, the board chairman, said the members were thrilled to welcome Everson to its ranks.

“Carolyn’s extensive background, including roles at a number of high-profile, complex global companies, brings a welcome and invaluable perspective as we continue to focus on expanding our brand and global reach,” Arnold said in a statement. 

Everson said she was honored to join the Disney board and work alongside the directors and the talented management team.

“Disney is a beloved brand with an incredible history that brings joy to millions of consumers around the world and one that has meant so much to me and my family over the years,” Everson said in a statement. “I am fully committed to helping progress Disney’s strategic priorities at an exciting time for the business and industry at large.”

Prior to joining Disney, Everson served as president of Instacart, the San Francisco-based grocery-delivery business. 

Before that she was vice president of the global business group at Facebook Inc., now known as Meta Platforms Inc., where she led the global marketing solutions team focused on top strategic accounts and global agencies, as well as media strategy, advertising sales, and account management, according to the Disney release.

She has held additional senior leadership roles in media and technology, including as corporate vice president of Microsoft’s global advertising sales and trade marketing teams, and as chief operating officer at Viacom. Prior to Viacom, Ms. Everson worked at Primedia, Walt Disney Imagineering and Accenture Consulting, the Disney release added.

Everson’s appointment was supported by activist investor Dan Loeb and his hedge fund firm, Third Point LLC. 

Loeb had been energetically lobbying for Disney to spin off ESPN, but last month changed his tune. “We have a better understanding of ESPN’s potential as a standalone business and another vertical for $DIS to reach a global audience to generate ad and subscriber revenues,” Loeb tweeted shortly after dropping his demands.

Third Point has entered into a standstill agreement with Disney through the April 2024 annual meeting of shareholders. The agreement calls for, among other things, that Third Point cannot “make, or cause to be made, any statement or announcement that relates to and constitutes an ad hominem attack on, or that disparages, defames or slanders, (Disney) or its business, operations or financial performance, its officers or its directors.” It also prevents Third Point from owning more than 2% of shares in the company.

“We are pleased with our productive and ongoing dialogue with Bob (Chapek, Disney chief executive) and Disney’s management team,” said Loeb, chief executive of Third Point, in a statement. “The expansion of Disney’s board of directors to include Carolyn Everson will add an important new perspective to an already accomplished group.”

“We have a productive and collegial relationship with Third Point, with whom we share a deep commitment to continue building on Disney’s many successes and increasing shareholder value,” Chapek added in a statement. 

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