Risk & Compliance

Wilson Resigns from Disney’s Board

Governance rules end a 21-year stretch on Disney's board for the one-time CFO.
Stephen TaubJuly 31, 2006

Walt Disney Co. announced that long-time director and one-time chief financial officer Gary Wilson has resigned from the board under its term limits provision.

Wilson, who has been a director with the media giant for 21 years, resigned under the company’s “length of service” policy which are part of Disney’s corporate-governance guidelines. Since 2002, Disney policy has stated that directors must submit their resignation after 12 years of service, and then again, every three years after that, the The Wall Street Journal pointed out. Wilson had offered his resignation three years ago, but it was rejected, added the Journal report.

Wilson, current chairman of the board and a principal investor at Northwest Airlines, is a long-time finance executive. In 1985, newly hired Disney chief executive Michael Eisner convinced Wilson to serve as chief financial officer and director. Wilson is widely credited for playing a big role in Disney’s dramatic financial turnaround and then helping the company to grow into a media powerhouse.

Before joining Disney, Wilson spent 11 years with Marriott, including a stint as executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Wilson, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, received an MBA from the Wharton Graduate School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. When he was only 24, Wilson served as CFO for Trans-Philipines Investment, a Manila-based company with holdings in sugar, mining, and heavy construction, according to a biography published on a University of Southern California website. Wilson was a guest speaker at USC’s Marshall School of Business last year and is a trustee of USC’s Keck School of Medicine.