Marvel chairman Isaac ‘Ike’ Perlmutter is the latest Disney executive to lose his position, as the Marvel Entertainment division is closed.
Following the news this week of further planned layoffs at Disney and the closure of its metaverse division with the loss of 50 jobs, Marvel Entertainment is the latest sector of The Walt Disney Company to feel the effects.
The New York Times has reported that Ike Perlmutter has been informed that Marvel Entertainment, a small division centered on consumer products and run separately from Marvel Studios, was now redundant and would be incorperated into larger Disney business units, and his services would therefore no longer be required. Ike Perlmutter had been with the Disney family since the purchase of Marvel in 2009.
Marvel Entertainment co-president Rob Steffens and chief counsel John Turitzin have also been laid off.
The three Marvel Entertainment leaders join senior vice president of Production for Hulu, Mark Levenstein; senior vice president of Production Management & Operations for Freeform, Jayne Bieber and Disney VP of Corporate Communications, Jeffrey R. Epstein.
Disney CEO Bob Iger commented: “We bought Marvel in 2009. I promised Ike that he would continue to run Marvel after that. Not forever, necessarily.”
Ike has recently courted controversy by attempting to appoint Nelson Peltz, of investment management firm Trian Group, to the board. Bob Iger added: “Our filings indicate that Ike and Nelson were working together to try to encourage the board, or convince the board, to put Nelson on the board. They have a relationship that dates back quite some time”
Ike Perlmutter, who became chairman in 2017, is also said to have been intent on firing primary Marvel producer Kevin Feige in 2015. At this time, the producer was in talks to move to DC because of frustrations with his working relationships at the company. He stayed and has since been made chief creative officer at Marvel.
Bob Iger said he believed the desire to fire Kevin Feige was a mistake and was forced to intervene to prevent the move. He added: “I think Kevin is an incredibly, incredibly talented executive; the Marvel track record speaks for itself. So I moved the moviemaking operation of Marvel out from under Ike into the movie studio under Alan Horn (chairman of Walt Disney Studios at the time).”
Bob Iger told reporters: “He was not happy about it. And I think that unhappiness exists today. What the link is between that and his relationship with Nelson Peltz, I think that’s something that you can speculate about.”
Disney’s latest round of layoffs was announced in February and will impact about 7,000 employees in total. The job cuts will be cross-company, affecting Disney’s media and distribution division, parks and resorts, and ESPN.
Disney will host its annual shareholder meeting on April 3rd, when further confirmation of the company’s strategy going forward – and potentially further role rationalisation – is expected to be made.