The Walt Disney Company: Investor Communications Strategy

By Maureen McNichols, Brian Tayan
2007 | Case No. A195

As the chief financial officer of The Walt Disney Company, Tom Staggs was responsible not only for the financial management of the company, but also for the communication of the company’s financial and strategic objectives to its investor base. Because of Disney’s stature as the world’s most iconic entertainment brand, the company had a particularly broad investor base, over 991,000 common shareholders in fiscal year 2006 compared with 51,400 for Time Warner. Staggs had to develop and implement a communication strategy that was appropriate for the diversity of this investor base, which included individual, institutional, brokerage house, and mutual fund investors. In doing so, he had to be mindful of the fact that these constituencies often had different time horizons and investment perspectives. In addition, Staggs had to bear in mind several other factors. First, he had to consider that any message delivered was perceived by investors as a direct reflection of management’s capability and credibility. Second, he had to consider how the company’s stated objectives influenced the behavior of its employees. Third, he had to decide how to implement the communication strategy across a wide array of channels, keeping in mind the purpose of the forum, regulatory requirements, and investor expectations.

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