BURBANK, Calif., Dec. 1, 2004 – The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) Board of Directors has elected Fred H. Langhammer, chairman of Global Affairs of The Estee Lauder Companies Inc., as a new independent director, effective January 2005.
“With forty years of significant international business experience, including a decade as president, and later CEO of his present company, Fred has the proven leadership and global perspective that will serve Disney shareholders well,” said George J. Mitchell, Disney chairman. “In addition, his experience with upscale and market-leading consumer products and services, including his understanding of how to grow and protect strong international brands, will provide a significant contribution to the issues Disney faces as the company expands globally.”
Langhammer, who helped take Estee Lauder public and presided over explosive growth over the past decade, including a nearly three-fold increase in its stock price, said he was enthusiastic about joining the Disney board because “The Walt Disney Company is a great company with tremendous global appeal.”
“The Disney brand in itself is a great American icon that is highly recognized and appreciated around the world. I am honored to join the Board and look forward to sharing my experience and knowledge to help further expand the global footprint of this great company”, said Langhammer, who becomes the fourth new independent Disney Board member in the past two years.
Born in Germany in 1944, Langhammer, 60, joined Estee Lauder in 1975 as president of Estee Lauder Japan. In 1985, he became chief operating officer, and was named CEO in 2000. In July 2004, he assumed his present title. Langhammer started his business career in 1964 with T. Eaton Company, owner of Eaton’s, a Canadian department store chain.
He is a director of The Gillette Company and of Industria de Diseno Textil (Inditex), a leading global Spanish designer/retailer. He is a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Association and a director of the Japan Society. He is also a Director of the German American Chamber of Commerce, Inc.; and is Co-Chairman of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Disney’s Governance and Nominating Committee worked with Russell Reynolds Associates, a global executive recruiting firm, to identify Langhammer as a candidate for the Board.
The Governance and Nominating Committee has begun the process of identifying another independent Board member, with a goal of electing that director within the next 12 months.