Disney Lays Off Head of Marvel Entertainment
The behind-the-scenes shakeups at Marvel continue. Amidst layoffs all over the Walt Disney Company, the corporation has reportedly parted ways with the longtime chairman of Marvel Entertainment Ike Perlmutter. The businessman and corporate executive has been with Disney since he sold Marvel to the company back in 2009.
Perlmutter gained control of Marvel during the 1990s, when the company was at one of its lowest points financially and nearly went out of business. After Marvel went bankrupt in 1996, Perlmutter and Avi Arad — who together owned Toy Biz, which produced action figures of Marvel’s many characters — assumed control of the company. By the mid-2000s, Perlmutter was Marvel CEO; in 2009, he sold Marvel to Disney, netting hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and Disney stock options.
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Perlmutter had been with Disney for years, serving as chairman of the Marvel Entertainment division — which is separate from Marvel Studios, which produces the company’s popular films and television shows. (Marvel Entertainment is in charge of publishing Marvel’s comic books.) As part of the ongoing corporate layoffs and restructuring at Disney, per The New York Times, Marvel Entertainment was declared “redundant” and will be “folded into larger Disney business units.” As a result, Perlmutter and several other high-ranking executives within the division were laid off.
Also according to the Times, Perlmutter had a reputation within the company for “corporate frugality”:
Mr. Perlmutter’s zealousness for corporate frugality in service of profit is well known in the entertainment business. In one particularly vivid example, he used to pluck paper clips out of garbage cans at Marvel offices for reuse. People at Marvel still talk about the time he suggested serving potato chips at a movie premiere to save catering costs.
In recent months, Perlmutter was in business news as he openly tried to get his friend (and activist investor) Nelson Peltz a seat on the Disney board. (Those efforts eventually proved unsuccessful.)
News of Perlmutter’s departure comes just a few days after the sudden and surprising firing of Marvel Studios’ Victoria Alonso, who had been with the company since prior to the release of the original Iron Man, and was one of its most tenured and respected producers. The precise reasons for Alonso’s removal from Marvel continues to be the subject of press reports, with reported motivations ranging from her unapproved (and allegedly contract-violating) role as the producer of the Amazon Studios film Argentina, 1985, to her refusal to make cuts to a recent Marvel production in order to appease foreign censors.