Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter, long-time chairman of Marvel Entertainment, has reportedly been let go by Disney as part of the company’s first massive round of layoffs in 2023.
Ike Perlmutter out at Disney
According to two Disney executives who spoke to The New York Times, Perlmutter was told by phone on Wednesday that Marvel Entertainment — a different division than Marvel Studios — was redundant and would be folded into larger Disney business units.
Dan Buckley, president of Marvel Entertainment, will stay on and report to Kevin Feige, but Disney also laid off Marvel Entertainment co-president Rob Steffens and chief counsel John Turitzin on Wednesday. More than 7,000 Disney employees will lose their jobs in the coming weeks.
After taking control of the company in the 1990s, Ike Perlmutter sold Marvel to Disney in 2009 for $4 billion. Over the years, he began to lose control, culminating in his attempt in 2015 to fire Kevin Feige over the budget of Doctor Strange. Disney CEO Bob Iger overruled him.
Four years later, Feige would be named chief creative officer (CCO) of Marvel Entertainment, and Perlmutter would lose control of Marvel Television.
In recent years, Perlmutter has been a source of immense frustration within Disney. Last year, he reportedly contacted Disney board members and executives on multiple occasions in an attempt to get his friend, billionaire businessman and activist investor Nelson Peltz, on the board. When that failed, Peltz started a proxy fight with Disney, which ended a short time later when the company announced its wide-ranging restructuring plan.
By the end, Perlmutter’s purview was limited to comics publishing, game licensing, arena shows, and some consumer products. The New York Times notes that comics generate $40-60 million in sales annually, while Disney’s total revenue in 2022 was $83 billion.