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03 April
Elon Musk says Nelson Peltz ‘definitely’ should be on Disney board
MarketWatch photo illustration/Getty Images

Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk threw his weight at the Walt Disney Co.’s board fight on Wednesday, saying that activist investor Nelson Peltz “definitely should be” on the media company’s board.

Musk, no stranger to controversy, continued by saying that while he doesn’t own Disney DIS, -0.50% shares, he’d buy them if Peltz is elected to the board. Peltz’s track record is “excellent,” the billionaire said.

Musk was responding to Bill Ackman’s tweet about press leaks ahead of Disney’s shareholder meeting. The Tesla TSLA, +0.51% chief’s comments came in the wee hours of Wednesday on X.com, formerly Twitter, which Musk bought last year.

The contentious proxy campaign brewing for weeks comes to a showdown later Wednesday, when Disney holds its shareholder meeting and presents its own slate of board nominees.

Disney’s Chief Executive Bob Iger has garnered support from industry luminaries such as director George Lucas, JP Morgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, and ValueAct Capital co-CEO Mason Morfit.

Not everyone is enamored of Peltz. Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Lester Crown Professor in Management Practice and founder and president of the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute, described Peltz as “one of the chronically poorest-performing activist investors, with a long history of destroying value when he sits on boards,” on Tuesday.

In a commentary piece for Fortune Magazine, Sonnenfeld heaped praise in Iger, who he said “is doing more than keeping the lights on: he is pulling off one of the most remarkable turnaround and transformation stories in media and entertainment history” at Disney.

Musk and his own leadership at Tesla have been the subject of criticism recently, but particularly as the EV maker reported a vast quarterly deliveries miss on Tuesday.

Ross Gerber, a Tesla investor and former board candidate, blamed the miss on Musk’s “behavior.” Musk’s apparent embrace of far-right conspiracy theories, among other lightning-rod issues on X and elsewhere, has drawn plenty of criticism. Some have feared the controversies may be a factor at lower demand for Tesla EVs amid a broader EV slowdown in the U.S.