Disney CEO Bob Iger told CNBC this morning that he stopped Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter, then CEO of Marvel Entertainment, from firing Kevin Feige from Marvel Studios in 2015.
Perlmutter, whose position was shifted to chairman in 2017, was “intent on firing Kevin Feige” in 2015, Iger said. This would have been around the same time that Feige was in talks to switch to DC because of frustrations with Perlmutter. Feige is now Chief Creative Officer at Marvel.
“I thought that was a mistake,” Iger continued in regards to Perlmutter firing Feige, “and stepped in to prevent that from happening. I think Kevin is an incredibly, incredibly talented executive that you know, the Marvel track record speaks for itself. And so I moved the moviemaking operation of Marvel out from under Ike into the movie studio under Alan Horn.” Horn was chairman of Walt Disney Studios at the time.
CNBC’s David Faber asked if there was animosity left after this decision and Iger said, “You’d have to ask Ike about that. But let’s put it this way. He was not happy about it. And I think that unhappiness exists today. And you know, what the link is between that and [Nelson Peltz], his relationship. I think that’s something that you can speculate about. I won’t.”
Nelson Peltz of Trian Group has been pushing for a spot on the Disney board, but finally dropped the fight this morning. “Our filings indicate that both Ike and Nelson were working together to try to encourage the board or convince the board to put Nelson on the board,” Iger told CNBC. “They have a relationship that dates back quite some time. We bought Marvel in 2009. I promised Ike the job that he would continue to run Marvel after that. Not forever, necessarily. But after that.”
In the Disney board’s response to Peltz backing down, they said they “appreciate the decision” and are pleased they “can remain focused without the distraction of a proxy contest, and we have tremendous faith in Bob Iger’s leadership and the transformative vision for Disney’s future he set forth yesterday.”