Disney Recruits Former Top P&G Exec for Chairman Position

John Pepper Will Take Reins at Start of Next Year

By Published on .

CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Walt Disney Co. has named a former executive of one of its TV networks' biggest customers -- former Procter & Gamble Co. Chairman-CEO John Pepper -- as its new chairman.
John Pepper, the former chairman-CEO of P&G, has been hired as the new chairman of Walt Disney Co.
John Pepper, the former chairman-CEO of P&G, has been hired as the new chairman of Walt Disney Co. Credit: AP

Mr. Pepper, 67, will take over as nonexecutive chairman from former Sen. George Mitchell at the beginning of 2007.

P&G tenure
Mr. Pepper was chairman-CEO of P&G from 1995-1999, then returned as chairman in 2000 after his successor, Durk Jager, resigned following two quarterly earnings disappointments. Mr. Pepper retired from his second tour as P&G chairman in 2002.

He later served as VP-finance and administration for his alma mater, Yale University, from 2004-2006 and currently is CEO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, a project he spearheaded but that recently sought financial help from the city after it didn't meet revenue projections.

Growth engines
As P&G CEO, Mr. Pepper helped lead P&G establish business in emerging markets such as China and Eastern Europe, both of which have been major growth engines for the company in recent years.

Since joining Disney's board in March 2004, "John has quickly immersed himself in our business and shared his broad and deep expertise in corporate management, global brand building and leadership development," Robert A. Iger, president-CEO of Disney, said in a statement.

Disney had previously asked Mr. Mitchell, 72, to delay his retirement, though he already had reached the board's mandatory retirement age. Mr. Mitchell became chairman in 2004 after a shareholder revolt led by Roy Disney and former director Stanley Gold resulted in a 45% "no confidence" vote against former Chairman-CEO Michael Eisner.
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