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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on global corporations.

The Walt Disney Company
Type Publicly Traded Corporation
Founded 1923[1]
Founder(s) Walt and Roy Disney[1]
Headquarters Worldwide
Key people Robert A. Iger (President and CEO); Andy Bird (Chair, Walt Disney International/Walt Disney Company) [2]
Industry Services, Entertainment-Diversified[3]
Products Media, Studio Entertainment, Consumer Products, Parks and Recreation
Services parks, entertainment, consumer goods, media outlets
Revenue $50.71 billion (2014)[4]
Net income $8.03 billion[4]
Employees 137,000 (full-time)[5]
Website http://www.disney.com; http://www.thewaltdisneycompany.com

The Walt Disney Company (Disney) is a media and entertainment conglomerate that includes Disney/ABC Television Group and ESPN Inc., Walt Disney Studios, Disney Resorts and Parks, Disney Consumer Products, and Disney Interactive.[6] The company was founded by brothers Walt and Roy Disney on October 16, 1923, as a small animation studio which grew into an empire.[1] According to the Center for Responsive Politics, "The company that gave the world Mickey Mouse has evolved from cartoons and theme parks to become the second largest media conglomerate on the planet. The company produces movies through Walt Disney Studios, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, and Miramax; owns television interests including ABC, the Disney Channel and ESPN; [and] runs dozens of local television and radio stations."[7] Disney previously owned a baseball team, the Anaheim Angels.[8] Additional media acquisitions include Pixar Animation Studios (2006), Marvel Entertainment (2009) and Lucasfilm (2012).[8]

Disney is a "heavy hitter" lobbyist according to the Center for Responsive Politics, reporting $3.5 million spent in 2014 on lobbying related to issues including copyright, television broadcasting, taxes, international trade, tourism, advertising, insurance, and telecommunications.[9] Disney has been a major lobbyist on the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement.[10]

Disney has been criticized for poor labor practices, including outsourcing and opposition to worker organizing efforts in the United States and offshoring consumer goods production to factories outside the U.S. with poor working conditions.[8]

In FY 2014, Disney had total revenues of $50.71 billion and net income of $8.03 billion.[4] Disney is based in California.[11]

Company History

The Walt Disney Company began as Walt Disney Studio in 1923, a joint animation venture founded by Walt and his brother Roy Disney in California. The first series included Steamboat Willy featuring the iconic character Mickey Mouse and the following series, Silly Symphonies. By the 1930s, Walt Disney Studio had begun producing merchandise featuring its animated characters, and in 1937 its first feature film, Snow White, became the highest grossing film of all time until the release of Gone with the Wind.[1]

With World War II came the initiation of Disney’s role in producing propaganda at the request of the State Department as well as military training films. Some 90 percent of Disney employees were involved in producing propaganda and training films during the war, according to the U.S. Army.[12] Two examples of Disney war-time propaganda can be seen here: Top 10 Propaganda Videos

After WWII, Disney continued producing films and television shows, both animated and live action. Disneyland park was established in 1957 in California, and Disney World followed it in Florida in 1971. Over the next few decades, Disney established various production companies including Touchstone and the Disney Channel and further theme parks.[1]

In 1996, Disney significantly expanded both its operations and influence by purchasing ABC Studios and its affiliated radio and television stations and newspapers.[1]

Historical Financial Information

Disney Annual Reports

Business Strategy

Disney "is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media," according to its website.[6]

Political and Public Influence

While Walt Disney Company has contributed plenty to political campaigns and lobbying efforts, perhaps the most significant aspect of its public influence is its sheer reach, particularly in the media. Disney owns many dozens of newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations, and internet sites, including but not limited to all ABC and ESPN related entities.[6] Disney (ABC) and other major media corporations have lobbied against reduced or free air-time for political campaigns.[13][14]

However, Disney's direct influence in politics is hardly insignificant. Through its many affiliates, including the ABC franchises, ESPN, Miramax Films, Touchstone Pictures and TV, Walt Disney World, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, Walt Disney Pictures, Lyric Street Records, Hollywood Records, and a number of others, Disney has a significant presence in the U.S. political process through its lobbying activities and campaign contributions. Disney is characterized as a "Heavy Hitter" and "Major Contributor" by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political influence through lobbying and campaign contributions.[9] It spends millions dollars each year on lobbying, campaign contributions, and contributions to Political Action Committees.[15]

Political Contributions

Disney's PAC and Disney employees reported federal contributions of $1,192,420 in the 2014 election cycle, with 62 percent going to Democrats and 38 percent to Republicans.[16]


Disney reported lobbying expenses of $3,510,000 at the federal level in 2014, and $1,200,000 from January 1 to April 20, 2015. Its reported issues for 2015 include:

  • Radio/TV Broadcasting: Retransmission Consent Spectrum Pay TV Issues Federal Regulation of Content, Legislative monitoring and outreach related to carriage dispute, Issues related to television broadcasting
  • Taxes: Corporate Tax Reform Tax Extenders Bonus Depreciation, Legislative monitoring and outreach related to carriage dispute.
  • Trade: Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement Trade Promotion Authority
  • Copyright, Patent, & Trademark: Intellectual Property Enforcement Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement Internet Piracy General Copyright Issues International Intellectual Property Policy
  • Environment and Superfund: Emission Control Area Designation
  • Advertising: A bill providing for comprehensive tax reform (Not introduced) FTC Reauthorization Act of 2015 (Not introduced)
  • Aviation, Airlines, & Airports: Unmanned Aerial Systems

As of 2015, Disney subsidiary Walt Disney Co. contracts with CGCN Group, Glover Park Group, and Polsinelli PC, while Disney Worldwide Services conducts its own lobbying. Of the company's 20 registered lobbyists, 17 (85 percent) were "revolvers" who had previously held government jobs.[9]


Between 1991 and 2012 Disney received subsidies from state governments worth an estimated $415,029,259, according to data compiled by Good Jobs First. The top five states that have given subsides to Disney are:[17]

  • California: $202,003,320, including $200 million the city of Anaheim agreed to spend on a parking lot and infrastructure development in 1996.[18]
  • Connecticut: $146,476,555, including a corporate income tax break for ESPN worth $75 million from 2000-2004 and a $17.5 million low-cost construction loan in 2011.[19]
  • South Carolina: $31,765,067 in tax credits/rebates for subsidiary Touchstone Television Productions
  • New York: $18,893,594 in tax credits/rebates and property tax abatements for ABC
  • Louisiana: $7,099,287 in tax credits/rebates

Archived Information

In the 2008 campaign cycle, Disney contributed over a million dollars to congressional candidates, 73% of them democrats, up from 58% democratic in 2007. At least since 1990, Disney has contributed between 500,000 and over $1 million to political campaigns, with democrats tending to get more than republicans, though how much so varies from year to year.[20] The list of congressional committees receiving Disney funds in 2008 is shockingly extensive, including everything from energy and education to international relations, transportation, "indian affairs", commerce, and even armed services and intelligence.[21]

Political Contributions

In the 2008 election cycle, Disney spent over a million dollars in contributions to the campaigns of 99 U.S representatives and 39 senators, splitting the money about evenly between democrats and republicans.[22] Barack Obama's campaign received more than any other from Disney in 2008, nearly a quarter of a million dollars, but Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Christopher Dodd, and Rudolph Giuliani all also received tens of thousands.[23]Walt Disney Company gave $367,500 to federal candidates in the 05/06 election cycle through its political action committee (PAC) - 48% to Democrats, 50% to Republicans, and 2% to other parties. [24] The company's gifts to Al Gore and his wife during his presidential campaign violated the Ethics in Government Act and he was seen regularly with then-Disney chairman Michael Eisner while the company was attempting to garner support for a new theme park.[25]


Disney spent $4.32 million in the first 3 quarters of 2008 on lobbying expenses, 1.7 times what it spent a decade earlier ($2.5 million in 1998).[26][27] However, only $90,000 of the total amount was spent on issues related to the entertainment industry as TV, movies, and so on - the vast majority landed in the pockets of lobbyists promoting Disney's interests as a "Business Service," an industry whose major players include marketing and advertising firms, as well as public relations companies, management consulting firms, and market researchers.[28][29] Disney's contribution in the first three quarters of 2008 to lobbying expenditures constituted over one-tenth of the entire Business Services industry's lobbying expenditures for that period through its affiliate, Disney Worldwide Services.[30] The agenda items Disney's money went towards influencing included copyright, patent, and trademark, telecommuications, trade, travel and tourism, consumer product safety, media information and publishing, and taxes.[31] The lobbying firms Disney hired in 2008 were American Continental Group, Cassidy & Associates, and Disney Worldwide Services for by far the greatest amount, at $2.52 million.[32]

The company spent $4,123,524 for lobbying in 2006. Most of this was spent using in-house lobbyists but three outside lobbying firms were also used.[33] Disney contributes significantly to the massive lobbying expenditures made by the U.S.'s largest media conglomerates which promote non-regulation of media consolidation.[34]

Corporate Accountability

There are several major corporate accountability issues associated with the Disney. The conditions under which Disney's many consumer goods are produced as well as the products' safety have been the focus of campaigns related to the Walt Disney Company. Disney has also been associated with the growing consolidation of the media into huge conglomerates who own dozens or even hundreds of news and entertainment producers and outlets, particularly after its acquisition of the ABC brand.

Tech Employees in Florida Required to Train the H-1B Visa Workers Replacing Them (2014-2015)

Approximately 250 employees who worked in Disney's data centers in Orlando, Florida were laid off and replaced with lower-paid immigrant workers on H-1B temporary work visas in late 2014. According to the New York Times,

Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an outsourcing firm based in India. Over the next three months, some Disney employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had lost.
“I just couldn’t believe they could fly people in to sit at our desks and take over our jobs exactly,” said one former worker, an American in his 40s who remains unemployed since his last day at Disney on Jan. 30. “It was so humiliating to train somebody else to take over your job. I still can’t grasp it.”[35]

Disney, which used the outsourcing firm HCL America to fill the positions, called the layoffs part of a reorganization and claimed the net result was a gain of 70 jobs.[35]

H-1B visas are intended for highly skilled science and technology workers to fill jobs for which companies cannot find U.S. workers with the necessary specialized skills. Labor standards governing the visas are supposed "to protect similarly employed U.S. workers from being adversely affected by the employment of the nonimmigrant workers," according to the Department of Labor.[36] But in practice, the bulk of visas have been acquired by outsourcing and staffing firms; in 2013, 6 of the top 10 companies receiving H-1B visas were Indian outsourcing firms or their subsidiaries, including HCL America, Infosys, and Tata Consultancy Services, according to the New York Times.[35]

Tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have pushed for the program to be expanded. While Disney has not reported directly lobbying on the issue, its Chair, Robert Iger, also serves as a co-chair of the Partnership for a New American Economy, which supports increasing the number of H-1B visas issued each year.[35]

Disney received a tax refund worth $680,000 from the state of Florida in 2000[17] as part of a program that benefits "companies that create high wage jobs in targeted high value-added industries."[37]

Disney Subsidiary Pays $3 Million Settlement in Children's Online Privacy Case (2011)

Playdom, Inc., a Disney subsidiary that develops online multi-player games, agreed to pay $3 million in 2011 to settle FTC charges that it "violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule by illegally collecting and disclosing personal information from hundreds of thousands of children under age 13 without their parents’ prior consent," according to an FTC press release. At the time, that was the largest civil penalty ever for a violation of the rule.[38]

Reports of Sweatshop Conditions in Factories Outside U.S.

Disney contracts with over 40,000 factories and 6,000 vendors around the world. It has established a "Code of Conduct for Manufacturers" and oversight group, and it utilizes independent auditors in its overseas factories.[39][40]

Despite the ILS program and its associated collaborative monitoring project in China which includes NGOs in addition to the internal and independent monitors employed[41], Disney continues to come under public scrutiny for questionable labor practices. Motivated by the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland in 2005, the Hong Kong-based NGO Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) launched a series of campaigns to hold Disney accountable for labor practices in the factories which make its products.[42] SACOM's "Looking for Mickey Mouse's Conscience" campaign emphasizes that Disney's contractors ought to comply with Chinese labor laws, and the organization cites poor working conditions (including long hours, high injury rates, illegally low pay, nonpayment of wages, and forcing workers to sign blank contracts) and aims to make the results of the audits of Disney contracted factories publicly available as well as provide workers with copies of their contracts and Disney's Code of Conduct printed in Chinese.[43] SACOM was joined in 2007 by the Clean Clothes Campaign[44] when supporting striking workers at Haowei Toys factory in Shenzhen.[45] By fall of 2007, 9 Disney factories in China had been investigated by SACOM and found to violate labor laws and human rights.[46] SACOM's efforts to publicize Disney's low wages (less than 50 cents an hour) resulted in the company's presentation with a "social irresponsibility" award by Swiss NGOs.[47]

A followup investigation in 2006 into working conditions in several South China factories supplying Disney with consumer goods found workers were not given contracts as required by Chinese labor law, were paid illegally low wages, were not paid for overtime, worked excessive hours (often 16 hours a day) and were forced to work overtime, wage payments were delayed and arbitrarily deducted from, the working conditions were unsafe, and workers' living quarters and food were poor. The report, published by SACOM, concluded that Disney's Code of Conduct and Monitoring Systems "exist in name only", and that Disney's primary means of dealing with labor issues is to "cut and run" rather than comply with labor laws and give workers fair wages and safe working conditions.[48][49]

Disney executives told the L.A. Times in 2008 that they were unaware of the labor abuses and that companies that license Disney's properties are responsible for their subcontractors' failures to follow its code of conduct.[50]

More information on Disney labor issues outside the U.S.:

Human Rights

Due to its massive size (30,000 acres) and importance as revenue-producer, Walt Disney World has been given government-like leeway over its territory in Florida. It has used this power to evade civil suits related to patron injuries and intimidate the representatives of plaintiffs, as well as behave as a law-enforcement entity in its own right, violating the civil rights of patrons, including those accused of shoplifting.[51]

Support for Gay Rights

Despite 9 years of concentrated boycotts from the Christian right in the U.S., Disney refused to drop its "homosexual friendly" policies, including allowing gay rights groups to openly utilize Disney parks for events and offering benefits to same-sex couples.[52][53]


Disney has trademarked the term "Environmentality," referring both to their company's stated commitment to environmentally friendly practices, its Environmental Policy Division, and its newly created brand by the same name. The slogan of "Environmentality" is "Attitude and Commitment to Think and Act with the Environment in Mind," and the stated company philosophy merges corporate growth and environmentally friendly practices.[54] Projects under this campaign include turning all the kitchen grease from the 2008 Winter X Games into biodiesel fuel[55], as well as a larger-scale "reduce and reuse" type program that the company highlights is both more "eco-friendly" and saves money.[56] Because of the large number and obscurity of Disney's suppliers, it is difficult to determine the environmental impact of the production of its consumer goods.

Despite these claims, Disney has drawn criticism for environmental problems at its resort parks and the environmental effects of its products, and has been fined multiple times by the EPA. In 1990, Disneyland agreed to pay $550,000, at the time "the largest toxic waste fine ever assessed" by the EPA, after a company it had hired reportedly "illegally hauled 14,000 gallons of paint thinner, cleaning solvents such as acetone and other toxic materials to two disposal sites, in Wyoming and Utah," according to the L.A. Times.[57]

Florida's Department of Environmental Regulation called Disney World's hazardous waste handling "out of control" in 1988 and announced a fine of $174,399. A state inspector's report described steel drums on site "stored 'indiscriminately' and filled with waste such as resins, solvents, coolants, paints and unidentified chemicals. Many drums were unlabeled, rusty, open or lying on their sides. Hazardous waste, leaking or spilling from drums, appeared to have run off a concrete slab and onto the ground, where it could contaminate groundwater," according to the Orlando Sentinel.[58]

In 1990, Disney World agreed to pay an EPA fine of $375,000 "to make amends for pollution in Reedy Creek caused by an experimental sewage treatment process that went awry," according to the Orlando Sentinel.[59]

Disney's cultural influence has also had environmental effects. For example, the popularity of the Disney film "Finding Nemo" sparked growth in the aquarium fish industry, "endangering the wildlife of the Vanuatu archipelago in the South Pacific," according to The Guardian.[60] Though Disney cannot of course be blamed with as an intentional provocateur of such fishing practices, the consequence of its popular children's films involving real animals appears to have the potential for unintended and environmentally damaging consequences.

Consumer Protection and Product Safety

Like many other brands which sell children's and household products and especially toys, Disney began to independently test its products in 2007 due to concerns about safety. After Mattel recalled three separate toys because of their lead content, Disney decided to begin independently testing the toys whose manufacturing is outsourced to other companies but which bear the likenesses of characters central to the Disney brand. The move to independent testing of the safety of products bearing the Disney brand represented a shift in company policy from the norm in similar arrangements. The manufacturers to whom production is outsourced are usually held liable for unsafe products, and so product safety had not previously been seen as the brand-holding company's concern and recalls were regarded as sufficient means to periodically ensure product safety. However, deciding that continuing scares regarding the safety of consumer products might damage consumer trust in the toy brand itself, Disney, Mattel, Toys R Us, and other retailers and toy companies developed independent testing strategies to take a more active role in the maintenance of product safety and trust in both the brands and the toy industry itself. Disney specifically considered making surprise inspections at its Chinese suppliers, though as of 2007 it was not contractually permitted to do so, and such inspections were considered "difficult to time." Disney planned to pass the costs of its off-the-shelf inspections and other safety checks on to manufacturers in contracting.[61]

Despite such pronouncements, questionable products continue to be sold under the Disney brand, including a "Winnie the Pooh" bassinet whose design was alleged to be linked to the death of two infants in 2008. The resulting lawsuit again raised the issue of liability when companies outsource production of their consumer goods, though it concluded that Simplicity, Inc., to whom Disney had licensed the product, was responsible for the deaths[62]

Anti-Trust and Tax Practices

In 2003, Disney and 4 other media conglomerates successfully lobbied to have FCC regulations related to the size of media enterprises and the conglomeration of the industry loosened.[63]

Social Responsibility Initiatives

In an effort to distance itself from childhood obesity, Disney discontinued its partnership with McDonalds, in which it provided the toys for McDonald's Happy Meals, in 2006.[64] It has also participated in corporate social responsibility initiatives in China.[65]

Business Scope

According to Disney's website, its Media Networks division

comprise[s] a vast array of broadcast, cable, radio, publishing and digital businesses across two divisions – the Disney/ABC Television Group and ESPN Inc. In addition to content development and distribution functions, the segment includes supporting headquarters, communications, digital media, distribution, marketing, research and sales groups.
The Disney/ABC Television Group is composed of The Walt Disney Company’s global entertainment and news television properties, owned television stations group, and radio business. This includes the ABC Television Network, ABC Owned Television Stations Group, ABC Entertainment Group, Disney Channels Worldwide, ABC Family as well as Disney/ABC Domestic Television and Disney Media Distribution. The Company’s equity interest in A&E Television Networks, Hulu, and Fusion round out the Group’s portfolio of media businesses."[6]

Disney Holdings Chart

While finding a list of specific suppliers Disney uses, its company website describes the "partnerships" it seeks with "diverse" suppliers of various capabilities and reaches. While Disney has appointed a Director of Supplier Diversity and Sustainability to "integrate Environmental Awareness and International Labor Standards" in the company's "Strategic Sourcing Process," the 2004 appointee, Delynne Ano, worked for Nestle for 17 years before joining Disney in 2004. Nestle is not necessarily known for its environmentally friendly and human rights respecting practices, but, more significantly perhaps, Ano's role in her last position was related to the development of different types of packaging for Nestle's frozen food brand, Stouffers, neither coordinating suppliers nor working to achieve environmental or labor goals for the company, while she is now held responsible for both at Disney. Disney's application process does mention in one line that suppliers are responsible for complying with international labor standards, but its licensing requirements are more heavily focused on company characteristics (5 years of experience in proposed product line, manufacturer not distributor) and its willingness to relinquish any and all rights to the products licensed under the Disney brand.[66]

Confirmed factories manufacturing Disney toys in Shenzhen and Zhuhai Cities, Pearl River Delta, South China, included (as of 2006):

  • Huang Xing Factory, Longdong Village, Shenzhen City, Quangdong Province
  • Qi Sheng Factory, Xiuzin Village, Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province
  • Kam Long Industrial Co., Ltd., Xiangzhou District, Guangdong Province

An investigation into working conditions in these factories found workers were not given contracts as required by Chinese labor law, were paid illegally low wages, were not paid for overtime, worked excessive hours (often 16 hours a day) and were forced to work overtime, wage payments were delayed and arbitrarily deducted from, the working conditions were unsafe, and workers' living quarters and food were poor. The report, published by SACOM, concluded that Disney's Code of Conduct and Monitoring Systems "exist in name only", and that Disney's primary means of dealing with labor issues is to "cut and run" rather than comply with labor laws and give workers fair wages and safe working conditions.[48]

Some possible suppliers to Disney include:

  • charmshow
  • Shanghai Hug Trading Co., Ltd.
  • Textilestar Trading Co., Ltd.
  • Omeson International Trading
  • Shenzhen YC Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Goal-Park International Trading Co., Ltd.
  • Huicheng Trade (Hong Kong) Co. Ltd.
  • OMGB Pins
  • Shenzhen imiss watch Co., Ltd.

And many others, nearly all based in China, particularly concentrated in Shenzhen though not exclusively. The companies vary from manufacturers to distributors and traders, tend to have been recently established, and manufacture consumer goods for a variety of companies besides Disney.[67]

Rather than using credit to run its operations, Disney is large and successful enough to operate as a creditor to a variety of other enterprises, ranging from the intuitively related Euro Disney to the more surprising Lehman Brothers. However, the financially embattled Euro Disney has many creditors of its own, with Disney backing nearly 40 percent, and other sources, even Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the French government, and 3 French banks (the state-owned Caisse des Depots et Consignations, Credit Agricole and BNP Paribas), according to the L.A. Times.[68] Euro Disney's difficulties are traced to the failure of Disneyland Paris to attract needed revenues and interest after its founding in 1992. The difficulties of Disneyland Paris have been attributed to French labor laws and a general tendency for theme parks and resorts to fail to appeal to European travelers.[68]

Suppliers Competitors
Haowei Toys CBS
Tianyu Toys NEWS Corp
Yonglida Toys Time Warner, Inc.
Huang Xing Factory CKX Inc.
Qi Sheng Factory
Kam Long Industrial Co., Ltd.

Archived Financial Information (2008)

Ticker Symbol: DIS
Main Exchanges: NYSE
Investor Website: Disney Investor Relations

Shareholder % Total Shares held
FMR LLC 4.89%
Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd 3.99%
State Street Corporation 3.76%
Vanguard Group, Inc. (THE) 2.96%
Southeastern Asset Management, Inc. 2.54%
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. 2.22

Largest Shareholders[69]

Disney's products and media companies are concentrated in the Americas and Europe, though its Euro-Disney affiliate has not been nearly as successful as the parent company. Its global reach extends into Asia, where the majority of its manufacturing is outsourced to the South China's Delta and surrounding regions, and its media companies, including ABC and affiliates and especially its films, music, and television productions, are internationally distributed, cable channels available in 125 countries or more, and its media is produced in an extensive number of languages including English, French, Spanish, Russian, and Hindu.[70][71] According to its 2008 10-K filing, Disney's television stations reached 23% of the U.S. national audience the previous fiscal year, perhaps surprisingly well under the FCC-permitted maximum of 39%. However, Disney, through ABC Television Network and its affiliated local stations reaches fully 99% of all U.S. television households.[72] The ESPN company held by Disney and through its agreements with 45 internationally-held sports networks broadcasts in over 195 countries in 16 languages. Radio Disney (programming marketed for children and "tweens") is carried on 52 stations (41 of which are owned by Disney itself) and covers 60% of the U.S. market, not even including the audiences reached by its broadcast on internet and satellite sources of radio programming.[73]

Disney runs a number of theme parks in the U.S., as well as Disneyland Parks in Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, as well as a cruise line, a vacation tour package company, vacation ownership and rental properties, and a large number of hotels and resorts of other types.[74] Studio entertainment, music production and distribution, advertising, consulting, real estate development, planning, research & development, publishing, and retailing (through the Disney Store) all expand Disney's scope even further beyond media broadcast and consumer goods, though these themselves have a nearly global reach between consumption and production.[75]


CEO Robert A. Iger

Robert A. Iger has been the CEO of Disney since 2005 and the Chair since 2006. In that time, he has overseen the acquisitions of Pixar, Mavel Comics, and Lucasfilm. Iger had worked at ABC since 1974, moving to Disney when ABC was acquired in 1996. His affiliations include:[76]

  • Apple, board member
  • U.S.-China Business Council, board member
  • President’s Export Council, appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010
  • Partnership for a New American Economy, co-chair
  • National September 11 Memorial & Museum, board member
  • Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, board member
  • Academy of Arts & Sciences, member

Iger's total compensation in 2014 was $46,497,018, including a salary of $2.5 million, stock awards worth $8,943,204, options worth $8,339,396, and incentive plan compensation of $22,810,000, as well as $391,411 in personal (non-business-related) air travel.[77] Combined with the exercise of 2 million options and the vesting of 330,000 stock awards, Iger's total realized pay for 2014 was $89 million.[77]

Executive Management

As of June 2015[78] (total compensation listed as of 2014):[77]

  • Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO ($46,497,018)
  • Andy Bird, Chairman, Walt Disney International, The Walt Disney Company
  • Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
  • Alan F. Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios
  • James Pitaro, President, Disney Interactive
  • Ben Sherwood, Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks President, Disney|ABC Television Group
  • John Skipper, President, ESPN, and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks
  • Alan Braverman, Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, The Walt Disney Company ($10,585,305)
  • Ronald L. Iden, Senior Vice President, Global Security, The Walt Disney Company
  • Kevin Mayer, Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development, The Walt Disney Company ($5,803,410)
  • Christine M. McCarthy, Executive Vice President, Corporate Real Estate, Alliances, and Treasurer, The Walt Disney Company
  • Zenia Mucha, Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, The Walt Disney Company
  • Jayne Parker, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, The Walt Disney Company ($5,418,287)
  • Jay Rasulo, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, The Walt Disney Company ($16,177,779)
  • Thomas O. Staggs, Chief Operating Officer, The Walt Disney Company
  • Brent Woodford, Senior Vice President, Planning and Control, The Walt Disney Company

Michael Eisner, former CEO of Disney, was paid $10.1 million in 2005, and at that time he began drawing an annual pension of nearly $300,000.[79]

Board of Directors

As of June 2015:

  • Robert A. Iger, Chair and CEO
  • Susan Arnold
  • John S. Chen
  • Jack Dorsey
  • Fred H. Langhammer, Chairman, Global Affairs, of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
  • Aylwin B. Lewis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Potbelly Sandwich Works, former President and CEO of Sears
  • Monica C. Lozano, Chair of the Board of U.S. Hispanic Media, Inc.
  • Robert W. Matschullat, former CFO of The Seagram Company
  • Sheryl Sandburg, COO of Facebook, former Vice President at Google
  • Orin C. Smith, former President and CEO of Starbucks Corporation

Contact Information

500 S. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91521
Phone: 818-560-1000
Fax: 818-560-1930
Website (Corporate): http://thewaltdisneycompany.com

Articles and Resources

Books on the Company

  • Tinkerbelles and Evil Queens: The Walt Disney Company from the Inside Out. Sean Griffin. New York: New York University Press.

Related SourceWatch Articles


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