Disney Absorbs Marvel Entertainment Amid Layoffs, Dismisses Chairman Ike Perlmutter
Disney’s cost-cutting measures have reached to the top echelons of the company: Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter, chairman of Marvel Entertainment, has been laid off, as his division — which is separate from Marvel Studios — is absorbed into other units of Disney.
Along with Perlmutter, Marvel Entertainment’s co-president Rob Steffens and chief counsel John Turitzin were also dismissed. Dan Buckley, president of the division, is staying and will report to Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige.
A Disney spokesperson confirmed the departures to Variety.
The 80-year-old Perlmutter, who still owns a considerable share of Disney stock, was at the center of activist investor Nelson Peltz’s months-long fight to join the Disney board.
Variety reported in February that Perlmutter’s backing of Peltz was due at least in part to CEO Bob Iger’s decision to sever Perlmutter’s control of Marvel Studios in 2015, which eventually reduced Marvel Entertainment to not much more than consumer products and comic book publishing.
Peltz ended his proxy battle in February after Iger announced his plan to reduce costs by $5.5 billion, which included reducing the workforce by 7,000 employees, as well as the expected return of the dividend payment for shareholders by the end of 2023.
The decision to dismiss Perlmutter as part of Disney's cost-cutting measure is ironic considering the executive's infamous reputation for pinching pennies, from holding Marvel Studios press junkets in Disney's offices to forcing employees to reuse office supplies.
Perlmutter sold Marvel to Disney in 2009 for $4 billion, a figure the company has recouped several times over as Marvel Studios became a box office behemoth that dominated the industry in the 2010s. He first took control of Marvel Entertainment in the 1990s when the comic book publisher was in the throes of bankruptcy and it was folded into Toy Biz, the toy company co-run by Perlmutter and Avi Arad.
The New York Times first reported Perlmutter's departure from Disney.
Variety's Adam B. Vary contributed to this post.