Disney Appoints Former US Trade Rep Michael Froman to Board of Directors

Company is banking on Froman’s wealth of experience in international markets

Michael Froman
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The Walt Disney Co. said on Thursday that it has elected Ambassador Micheal Froman to the company’s board of directors.

Froman, a former U.S. trade representative, currently serves as the vice chairman and president of strategic growth at Mastercard. Disney is banking on Froman’s wealth of experience in international markets from his time with the government.

“Given his broad experience and extraordinary career spanning both the public and private sectors, Mike brings a unique perspective that will be extremely valuable as we continue to build the future of Disney,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “In particular, his keen insights into finance, international trade, and government partnerships make him a great fit for our Board during this dynamic era of innovation and global growth.”

Froman’s election to the board is effective immediately, bringing the company’s director total to 11, after shareholders elected 10 directors during the company’s annual meeting in March.

“The Walt Disney Company is an iconic brand that has the power to inspire generation after generation,” Froman said in a statement. “I am honored to join the Board and share my experiences and insights to help this great company explore new opportunities around the world.”

Froman was named Mastercard’s vice chairman and president of strategic growth in April. In this role, he is responsible for building and expanding strategic partnerships and advancing the company’s efforts to partner with governments, NGOs and other institutions to address major societal and economic issues. He also oversees Mastercard’s center for inclusive growth, working to ensure economic growth opportunities are extended to all segments of society.

Before Mastercard, Froman served as U.S. trade rep from 2013 to 2017, negotiating major international trade partnerships and investment opportunities on behalf of the U.S. Prior to that he served as assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs under President Barack Obama.

Mr. Froman’s previous private sector experience includes several leadership positions at Citigroup, including CEO of Citi insurance and COO of Citi’s $50 billion alternative investments business. He’s also served in the Clinton administration, holding positions both at the U.S. Department of Treasury and the White House.

In July, Disney shareholders voted to approve the acquisition of Fox’s film and TV entertainment assets $71.3 billion. The deal, which Disney hopes will help increase its scale overseas, is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

The deal will see Fox will fork over ownership of its Twentieth Century Fox film and TV studios, as well as certain cable and international television businesses, according to the companies’ joint merger proposal to shareholders. Fox retains control of a portfolio of news, sports and broadcast businesses, including the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, Fox Television Stations Group, and sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network, and certain other assets.