Mitchell plays ball

Role may cause conflict of interest for exec, ESPN

Just when Disney and topper Robert Iger looked like they were out of the boardroom mess, they may be right back in one.

The announcement last week that chairman of the board George Mitchell — set to retire at the end of the year –was tabbed to head the Major League Baseball steroid investigation could prompt new calls for him to step down now.

Over the past few months, dissident shareholders have called for the former senator’s resignation, citing his ties to former topper Michael Eisner and the fact that he had reached the mandatory retirement age.

Now Mitchell has the perception of a potential conflict. As chair of Disney, he oversees ESPN, which has a ratings bet on alleged steroid user Barry Bonds through a new documentary series. As head of the steroid investigation, Mitchell is charged with looking into allegations against the athlete.

A Disney rep cites Mitchell’s integrity and says there’ll be no conflict.

Iger may feel more … conflicted.

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