Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) isn’t the only company where Steve Jobs has a formal role. Jobs joined the Disney (NYSE: DIS) board as part of the company’s 2006 all-stock acquisition of Pixar valued at $7.4 billion; the stock he held as chairman and CEO of Pixar was enough to make him the largest shareholder in Disney after the swap. Despite his medical leave of absence from Apple, Jobs is on the company’s 12-person slate for 2009, according to the 2009 proxy filed with the SEC Friday. During 2008, Jobs was one of 11 directors who attended at least 75 percent of required meetings. He is the only non-employee director who receives no compensation for his presence on the Disney board; then again, he owns 7.4 percent of the company’s stock. (His holdings haven’t changed since the Pixar deal but the outstanding stock pool is smaller, increasing his percentage.)
Staying on the Disney board is in tune with Jobs’ overall approach to his health and work: business as usual — as much as possible. Even his staff message explaining his decision to step aside at Apple for the short term is balanced by a reminder that he will remain involved in strategic planning. But, as the back-to-back announcements about Jobs’ health illustrate, circumstances can change quickly. Still, even though he is the largest shareholder, Jobs’ role as one of a dozen directors at Disney is vastly different from his responsibilities as the CEO and public face of Apple.
The same Disney proxy includes a re-nomination of Aylwin B. Lewis, the only board member who could not attend 75 percent of the six required meetings, explaining that it “was caused by an unusual set of professional and personal circumstances.” That included a “professional transition and a family health issue issue that triggered scheduling conflicts that were both unpredictable and unavoidable.” The rationale for keeping him: in the previous five years, he met the requirements. Lewis switched to president and CEO of Potbelly Sandwich Works from president and CEO of Sears Holdings Corp.