Walt Disney Co. added two CEOs with strong backgrounds in technology to its board of directors this week, bringing Oracle Corp. CEO Safra Catz and Illumina Inc. CEO Francis A. DeSouza into the fold.
In addition to their experience as CEOs, their expertise in the technology space should prove valuable to Disney as the company moves forward, according to TK Kerstetter, CEO of Board Resources LLC, and editor at large of Corporate Board Member.
“These are CEOs, so it’s not like going out and getting a single-purpose director. They’re getting very qualified people who happen to have a good background in technology, as well,” Kerstetter says.
“In all aspects, these look like good recruitments to the board.” – TK Kerstetter
The addition of Catz marks the second high-profile female CEO to join Disney’s board of directors in recent months, with General Motors CEO Mary Barra becoming the board’s 12th member in August.
“They’re making sure to represent the diverse outlook of what institutional investors want these days, plus they’re getting some great minds to contribute,” Kerstetter says. “So, in all aspects, these look like good recruitments to the board.”
The move comes as Disney is set to announce a deal to acquire much of media giant 21st Century Fox, and though the tech backgrounds of the two new additions may not play directly into the media space, it will still provide value.
“I would say their tech experience is different from the tech media that 21st Century Fox would provide,” Kerstetter says. “But it never hurts. People knowledgeable in the digital world are very positive to a board right now.”
The move brings Disney’s board up to 14 members, though the company has not yet announced whether the new additions will replace retiring members, or if it will be expanding its board on a more permanent basis.