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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Steve Jobs to stand for re-election to Disney's board

By Slash Lane

Although complicated health issues have forced Steve Jobs into a 6 month leave from Apple, he's seemingly confident in his ability to serve on Disney's Board of Directors, where he'll be standing for reelection come March.

Jobs has been a member of Disney's board ever since the entertainment conglomerate purchased Pixar back in the spring of 2006. At the time, his 50.6 percent controlling stake in the animation studio netted him more than $4 billion in Disney shares, making him the company's largest shareholder.

The Apple co-founder receives no compensate for his role at Disney, where he's also believed to serve as a special advisor to chief executive and close personal friend Bob Iger on technology-related matters.

However, Jobs’ decision to stand for re-election to the Disney board just days after stepping aside at Apple is drawing some concern from corporate governance experts, according to the Financial Times.

"A directorship is not an honorary position,” Charles Elson, professor of corporate governance at the University of Delaware, told the paper. "If he’s said he can’t run Apple, how on earth can he [stand for the Disney board again]?”

Elson added that non-executive directors of large public companies need to be able to devote at least 250 hours a year to the position.

Disney, which reportedly declined to comment on Jobs' decision to seek another term as a board member, has been one of Apple's stalwart allies in its efforts to push video content into the digital age.

Prior to purchasing Pixar, Disney inked a landmark deal to sell its hit ABC television shows over iTunes and later followed up as the first major Hollywood studio to commit its movie library to the digital download service. Since then, Disney has gone on to sell millions of movies and tens of millions of TV shows through iTunes.

In related news, Bloomberg on Friday cited "people who are monitoring [Jobs'] illness" as saying he is considering a liver transplant as a result of complications that followed his pancreatic cancer treatment in 2004.

When reached by phone, Jobs refused to comment further on his health and pleaded for some privacy.

"Why don’t you guys leave me alone -- why is this important?," he told Bloomberg.