Bob Iger Says Ike Perlmutter Was ‘Intent’ on Firing Kevin Feige in 2015

“I think Kevin is an incredibly, incredibly talented executive that you know, the Marvel track record speaks for itself,” Iger says

Bob Iger Ike Perlmutter Kevin Feige
Bob Iger and Kevin Feige in 2019 (Getty Images)

Disney CEO Bob Iger says Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter was “intent” on firing Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige in 2015 when the two were at odds.

In an interview with CNBC’s David Faber on “Squawk on the Street,” Iger said that Nelson Peltz, who was working with Perlmutter at the time, wasn’t too thrilled at the prospect of Perlmutter’s ceding control of Marvel Studios.

“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 said. “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. And in 2015 he was intent on firing Kevin Feige who was running Marvel’s studio, the movie making [operation] at the time, and I thought that was a mistake and stepped in to prevent that from happening.”

Peltz waved the white flag on his proxy battle against Disney on Thursday after Iger announced hefty restructuring plans.

Feige, largely considered to be the architect of Marvel’s successful, multi-franchise film operation, previously answered to Perlmutter at the time. Longtime tension between Feige and Perlmutter over the latter’s micromanaging style led to the decision.

Iger added: “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.”

Thirty MCU movies and $28 billion dollars in box office grosses later, Iger backing Feige was obviously the right move with history written by the victors.

Faber asked Iger if the power move created any ill will. Iger responded: “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, his relationship. I think that’s something that you can speculate about. I won’t.”