Disney Plans to Expand Board With Tech Executive Carolyn Everson

As a top executive at Facebook and Instacart, Carolyn Everson knows a lot about the habits of tech-savvy consumers. Soon, she may be able to help Walt Disney Co. figure out how to harness them.

Disney plans to expand its board of directors to 12 from 11 and nominated Everson as a new member. The move is supported by Third Point LLC, the activist investor that in August took a new stake in Disney and suggested a litany of big moves, such as spinning off ESPN or buying out Comcast’s ownership of Hulu.

“We have a productive and collegial relationship with Third Point, with whom we share a deep commitment to continue building on Disney’s many successes and increasing shareholder value,” said Disney CEO Bob Chapek in a prepared statement.

Everson has extensive experience that may help bridge the gap between Disney’s traditional media portfolio and some of the new digital and virtual places it would like to inhabit. She most recently served as president of Instacart and vice president of Facebook, where she led outreach to advertising and marketing agencies and clients, as well as media strategy and advertising sales for about a decade. She has also led Microsoft’s global advertising sales and served as chief operating officer at Viacom. She is currently a member of the boards of The Coca-Cola Company, Creative Artists Agency, Villanova University, the Humane Society of the United States and Columbia Medical School.

“Carolyn’s extensive background, including roles at a number of high-profile, complex global companies, brings a welcome and invaluable perspective as we continue to focus on expanding our brand and global reach,” said Susan Arnold, the chairman of Disney’s board of directors, in a statement.

The move suggests just how seriously Disney has taken Third Point’s effort, which is said to have encompassed a stock investment worth around $1 billion. In September, Dan Loeb, Third Point’s CEO and chief investment officer, agreed to back down from the suggestion that Disney spin off ESPN, acknowledging he saw more potential for the sports-media giant to grow under Disney’s corporate umbrella.

“We are pleased with our productive and ongoing dialogue with Bob and Disney’s management team,” said Loeb, in a statement. “The expansion of Disney’s Board of Directors to include Carolyn Everson will add an important new perspective to an already accomplished group.”

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