Steve Jobs’s position as a director of Disney is being questioned as the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting takes place in Salt Lake City today.
The AFL-CIO federation of labor unions has already voted against his re-election, citing his absences for health reasons and full-time responsibilities as Chief Executive of Apple. They own 3.8 million shares in Disney, compared to the 138 million Steve Jobs received when Disney took over Pixar. He’s the company’s largest shareholder, in fact.
Advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services says he’s attended “less than 75%” of meetings in three of the past four years and that this “raises questions about his ability to fulfill his responsibilities as a director of the company.”
Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004 and received a liver transplant in 2009, and he has been on medical leave from Apple since January this year. Disney admitted in a regulatory filing that month that his health problems had hampered his ability to attend board meetings.
That said, Jobs’s influence on Disney does seem to have been valuable to the company. His experience with the highly successful Apple retail stores has been welcomed by Disney, and many cite his influence as being one of the reasons behind Disney’s early forays into the world of digital distribution.
And, frankly, it’s hard to imagine many companies that wouldn’t welcome Steve Jobs as one of their directors. Don’t expect to see other shareholders voting against him.