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Marvel Studios' David Maisel to step down after Disney deal

December 7, 2009 |  4:19 pm

Maiselk8e6clnc David Maisel, chairman of Marvel Entertainment Inc.'s movie studio, is expected to leave the company once the Walt Disney Co. completes its $4-billion acquisition of the comic book giant.

A Marvel spokesperson confirmed that Maisel plans to leave, first reported by Bloomberg. However, he will remain executive producer of three upcoming Marvel films, “Iron Man 2,” “Captain America” and “Thor.”

Maisel was the first Marvel executive to meet with Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger and discuss a range of business opportunities, including a potential business combination, according to an account in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Maisel arranged the first meeting of Iger and Marvel's chief executive, Isaac Perlmutter, in June. 

The Marvel studio chief acted as an intermediary, attending a series of meetings in June at Disney's Burbank headquarters with Iger, Chief Financial Officer Tom Staggs and the company's executive vice president for strategy, Kevin Mayer. Maisel told the Disney executives that Perlmutter was interested in exploring a possible merger and articulated the potential advantages of bringing together the two powerful brands, according to SEC documents. He also hinted at a potential acquisition price "starting with the number 5," according to SEC documents.

Maisel, who has overseen Marvel's movie operations in various positions since 2004, walks away from the deal with enough money to contemplate his next career move. He stands to collect as much as $20.3 million, representing the value of his unrestricted common stock, bonus and severance payments, according to a Dec. 2 SEC filing. 

The former financial consultant worked for onetime uber-agent Michael Ovitz and later joined the Endeavor talent agency. Maisel helped craft a new film production strategy for Marvel that set the stage for the box-office hits "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk."

Photo credit: Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times

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