Fans of Marvel Comics characters worldwide have all heard of ubiquitous onetime "Chairman Emeritus" Stan Lee and are increasingly aware of Marvel Studios mastermind Kevin Feige, but the actual leader of the modern Marvel company is familiar to far fewer people. Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter, an Israeli-American billionaire, is the CEO of Marvel and one of the most intensely-secretive corporate bigwigs in the world - having never granted a single press interview and being photographed almost as rarely.
An immigrant from Israel to the United States, Perlmutter is reputed to have worked his way from entry-level salesman jobs in New York to important positions within Revco, Coleco and Remmington before joining fellow businessmen Avi Arad, Ron Perelman and Carl Icahn in taking over trouble Marvel Comics, eventually becoming CEO and managing the aquisition of the company by the Walt Disney Corporation in 2009. While he did not accept a position of Disney's board of directors, he remained in charge of operations at Marvel itself... and has now been spotted, in a rare "public" appearance.
A candid photograph of the notoriously reclusive Perlmutter has unexpectedly surfaced from a recent event with soon-to-be U.S. President Donald Trump. The photograph, which was reportedly snapped offhand and was not requested nor "posed for" by either Perlmutter or Trump (who also appears in the image), is said to originate from a recent event at the real-estate tycoon and reality television personality turned politician's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Floria. Perlmutter, a longtime contributor to conservative political causes, was believed to be consulting about an upcoming health summit.
You can check out the rare photograph of Perlmutter (hat tip to THR), below:
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) December 28, 2016
While Perlmutter's avoidance of press and public appearances is the stuff of industry legends, what reputation he has developed in the media is largely unflattering. His management style has been associated with ruthless cost-cutting and low pay, and he is widely believed to be the driving force behind Marvel Comics' decisions to minimize the roles of characters like Fantastic Four and X-Men because their film rights are held by a "rival" company.
Additionally, Perlmutter's reputedly conservative views on race and gender have also been cited - typically "off the record" - as the main reason for the lack of female and nonwhite heroes in the early days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Frustration with working under Perlmutter is widely believed to be the main impetus behind Feige campaigning (successfully) to have his Marvel Studios film division restructured to report to Disney Studios head Alan Horn instead. As he does not speak to the press, Perlmutter (who remains in control of Marvel Television) has neither confirmed or disputed such rumors, which have hovered around the company for the length of his tenure.