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Marvel Entertainment Chairman Ike Perlmutter Speaks Out For First Time Following 'Lay Off' The former CEO stirred controversy during his nearly 30-year tenure at Marvel.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Bloomberg | Getty Images

In late March, Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter, 80, was "laid off" by Disney. The New York Times reported he was given the news over the phone. Perlmutter has been quiet about the situation — until now.

In an exclusive interview with The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, Perlmutter claimed he wasn't "laid off" — he has fired due to his aggressive approach to cost-cutting and conflicts with other executives.

"I have no doubt that my termination was based on fundamental differences in business between my thinking and Disney leadership, because I care about return on investment," Perlmutter told the outlet.

"It was merely a convenient excuse to get rid of a longtime executive who dared to challenge the company's way of doing business," he added.

Perlmutter was the CEO and chairman of Marvel Entertainment and remained so when he sold the company to Disney in 2009 for $4 billion. However, during his nearly three decades at Marvel, Perlmutter stirred controversy with a myriad of scandals from supposedly bribing the NYPD to expedite the process of renewing his gun license to being notoriously frugal for the sake of profit.

Examples of his extreme cost-saving efforts include fishing paperclips out of trash cans for reuse and suggesting potato chips as a food offering at a movie premiere to minimize catering costs.

Perlmutter's involvement with Marvel has slowly diminished over the years—he hasn't been involved with Marvel movies since 2015 and lost oversight over Marvel television shows in 2019. By the time of his layoff, Perlmutter's role was limited to Marvel comics publishing and game licensing.

The former chairman's most recent controversy involved aggressively pushing for his friend, Nelson Peltz, to join the Disney board, which led to a proxy war with Disney chief executive Robert A. Iger claiming he was spending too much money. Peltz ultimately withdrew in February following Iger's announcement of restructuring and cost-cutting measures. Since the proxy battle, Disney employees are said to have considered Perlmetter's days at the company were numbered, per The New York Times.

Related: Embattled Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek's Exit Package Is Worth More Than $20 Million

Perlmetter's departure comes as part of Disney's widespread restructuring plan and elimination of nearly 7,000 jobs. Iger informed employees that layoffs would come in three waves: the first round this week, the second in April, and a third before the beginning of summer.

"The difficult reality of many colleagues and friends leaving Disney is not something we take lightly," Iger wrote to employees in a letter obtained by Reuters.

As of Thursday morning, Disney stock was down nearly 25% as compared to last year.

Related: Disney CEO Admits Theme Park Price Hikes Have Been 'Too Aggressive,' Recommits to 'Accessibility' for All

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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