Iger’s Revenge: Disney Fires Marvel Entertainment Chairman Perlmutter

The Walt Disney Company has ousted Marvel Entertainment chairman Isaac Perlmutter, citing cost-cutting measures as part of layoffs affecting 7,000 employees.

Perlmutter, 80, had long been at odds with Disney CEO Bob Iger and repeatedly backed activist investor Nelson Peltz’s failed bid to join the company’s board of directors as part of a cost-cutting campaign.

Perlmutter was informed in a phone call Wednesday that Marvel Entertainment, a small consumer products division run separately from mammoth Marvel Studios, would be split into other business units, sources told The New York Times.

Disney did not immediately respond to a request from DailyMail.com, and Perlmutter could not be immediately reached for comment.

On Monday, Disney began cutting 7,000 jobs, about 4 percent of its workforce, as Iger works to cut about $5.5 billion in costs and grow the company’s financial results.

The Walt Disney Company ousted Marvel Entertainment chairman Isaac Perlmutter (above in 2017) citing cost-cutting measures

The Walt Disney Company ousted Marvel Entertainment chairman Isaac Perlmutter (above in 2017) citing cost-cutting measures

Disney CEO Bob Iger (above) announced a sweeping restructuring and cost-cutting last month after falling out with key Disney shareholders Nelson Peltz and Isaac Perlmutter

Disney CEO Bob Iger (above) announced a sweeping restructuring and cost-cutting last month after falling out with key Disney shareholders Nelson Peltz and Isaac Perlmutter

The announcement followed a proxy war that turned the iconic company on its head, with key Disney shareholders Peltz and Perlmutter accusing Iger of sinking the company by overspending.

Perlmutter, who ran the Marvel franchise for over a decade until he was sidelined in 2015, asked on a half-dozen occasions to add Peltz to the board, according to a Disney shareholder letter.

Perlmutter has been pushing the issue since July 2022, contacting former CEO Bob Chapek, director Safra Catz and other senior executives on Peltz’s behalf.

Peltz eventually pulled out of the proxy fight after Iger last month announced a sweeping restructuring to cut billions of dollars in costs, the CEO’s biggest move since returning to the helm and replacing Chapek last year.

Perlmutter has a long-standing reputation as a penny-pincher and had used his influence over the years to try to severely limit corporate spending.

Prior to Disney’s acquisition of the franchise in 2009, he was CEO of Marvel Entertainment and helped broker the acquisition, which reportedly paid him $800 million in cash and a massive grant of Disney stock.

Perlmutter oversaw the early Marvel Cinematic Universe until Iger knocked him out in a 2015 shuffle, causing Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige to report directly to the Walt Disney Studios chairman.

Notoriously averse to the press, Perlmutter never gave a media interview during his long career and was photographed only a handful of times.

Investor Nelson Peltz eventually pulled out of the proxy fight after Iger last month announced a major restructuring to slash billions of dollars in costs

Investor Nelson Peltz eventually pulled out of the proxy fight after Iger last month announced a major restructuring to slash billions of dollars in costs

Nelson Peltz (left) with daughter Nicola Peltz (right). Peltz ended his proxy bid against Disney after the company agreed to billions of dollars in cost-cutting measures

Nelson Peltz (left) with daughter Nicola Peltz (right). Peltz ended his proxy bid against Disney after the company agreed to billions of dollars in cost-cutting measures

Iger’s move to publicly oust Perlmutter from his role as head of Marvel Studios in 2015 led to a behind-the-scenes war between the billionaires, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Speaking about his decision to sideline Perlmutter last month, Iger told CNBC, “He wasn’t happy about it. And I think unhappiness exists today.’

Perlmutter had planned to bring Peltz onto the Disney board, where he could use his role to then limit the company’s budget.

But the plot was called off after Iger announced he would step down within two years and cut the company’s workforce – joining a growing number of firms to shed thousands of jobs in recent months.

A person close to Perlmutter told The Wall Street Journal, “For him, overspending is like a cancer. If it is not watched constantly, it will grow.”

“This whole fight wasn’t about Ike changing the Disney board. It was mostly about changing their attitude,” he added.

This frugal attitude led to Perlmutter repeatedly falling out with Iger over Disney spending, including disputes over the 2008 film Iron Man that launched the MCU.

The executive was reportedly so upset with the film’s bloated budget that he demanded that an action sequence involving ten Humvees be shot with just three.

After Iger subsequently ousted Perlmutter as Marvel CEO, the billionaire plotted with Peltz to overhaul the board and remove Iger from power.

In the proxy war, the billionaire supported a campaign to maneuver Peltz into a position of influence so he could make meaningful changes.

In January, Peltz’s company, Trian Fund Management LP, announced that it owned about 9.4 million shares worth about $900 million, which it had amassed a few months earlier.

Peltz had previously taken a critical stance on Disney’s $71 billion acquisition of Fox in 2019, as well as its failed succession planning that led to the sacking of Bob Chapek and Iger’s second reign.

The resentment led him to team up with ousted boss Perlmutter to gain control of the company’s board of directors.

When the feud became public, Iger hit back, claiming the investor — worth around $1.4 billion — “has not formulated any vision or ideas that are of particular value to us.”

Perlmutter is said to have been so upset with Iron Man's bloated budget that he demanded that an action sequence involving ten Humvees be shot with just three. Pictured: Robert Downey Jr. in the 2008 film that launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Perlmutter is said to have been so upset with Iron Man’s bloated budget that he demanded that an action sequence involving ten Humvees be shot with just three. Pictured: Robert Downey Jr. in the 2008 film that launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Following the announcement of the restructuring, Trian Igers praised cost-cutting measures, with Peltz’s company saying the move was “a win for all shareholders” and the decision “broadly aligns with our thinking.”

Peltz’s victory lap also saw him on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” last month, where he said Disney now “plans to do whatever we wanted them to do.”

“We wish Bob the very best [Iger], this leadership team and the board. We will watch. We’ll be rooting for it,” said the 80-year-old.

Iger will now step down from his position within two years and plans to use his remaining time to return the company to profitability by 2024.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11916493/Igers-revenge-Disney-fires-Marvel-Entertainment-chairman-Perlmutter.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Iger’s Revenge: Disney Fires Marvel Entertainment Chairman Perlmutter

Bradford Betz

Bradford Betz is a WSTPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Bradford Betz joined WSTPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: betz@ustimespost.com.

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