The trades are announcing a slew of changes at Marvel Studios, with The Hollywood Reporter reporting that “Michael Helfant, the studio’s president and COO, has been forced out.” A Hollywood vet who was brought in to give Marvel Studios a solid entertainment connection as they started producing their own movies, Helfant was exec producing THE INCREDIBLE HULK and IRON MAN.
Veteran Marvel-watcher Steven Zeitchik at Variety picks up the thread, including the whereabouts of ex Marvel Studios topper Avi Arad:
Marvel Studio has tapped David Maisel as studio chairman, with Kevin Feige becoming the top creative exec in the wake of prexy-COO Michael Helfant’s exit.
Maisel, who had been vice chairman, continues to occupy the office of the chief executive for Marvel Entertainment with Isaac Perlmutter and John Turitzin.
Feige continues as production prexy and will more directly supervise creative aspects of Marvel’s TV, homevid and vidgame efforts. Feige also is a producer on upcoming releases “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk.”
The company also has made a number of key hires, including bringing aboard Regency marketing VP Michael Brown as senior veep of marketing.
Brown has overseen marketing for New Regency releases such as “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “Unfaithful.”
Moves mark the official end of an era for former topper Avi Arad, who had stayed on as a creative adviser after he left last spring. He is now a full-fledged producer and was not named in the company’s release.
Stock analyst Motley Fool has more speculation
But why leave now? Helfant was in at the seed stage of what could prove to be a green-field opportunity for Marvel. For its part, The Hollywood Reporter offers an explanation. It claims that Helfant was “forced out.” If that’s true, then Helfant and Marvel’s higher ups may have disagreed over the direction for the studio. Better to resolve that now, while Marvel’s self-financed films are still in the very early stages of production. With filming on Iron Man now under way, and principal photography for The Incredible Hulk to begin within months, the comic book king needs a team it can count on.
Motley Fool also points out a history rapid executive shuffling at Marvel. Although there were no changes in publishing, there were a zillion other comngs and goings, if you can get through the the official release. The only name that might be familiar to casual industry watchers would be video game Sr. VP Ames Kirchen.
Additionally, Marvel Studios has solidified its infrastructure with the recent hiring of a number of seasoned, industry executives. Joining Marvel Studios in senior executive positions are: Tim Connors as Executive Vice President, Business Affairs and Operations; Ross Fanger as Executive Vice President, Physical Production; Michael Brown as Senior Vice President, Marketing; Charlie Davis as Senior Vice President, Post Production; Rod Smith as Senior Vice President, Production Finance; Elizabeth Lynch as Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs; and Jean-Claude Boursiquot as Director of IT and Studio Technology. Marvel has also promoted Matt Finick to Senior Vice President, Studio Finance and Corporate Development and named Ryan Potter to Associate Counsel. Both have relocated to Los Angeles from Marvel’s New York office. Meanwhile, David Galluzzi, Assistant General Counsel, based in New York, will also be a key member of the Marvel Studios’ Business Affairs team. Marvel also announced that Michael Helfant, President and Chief Operating Officer, Marvel Studios, is exiting the company to pursue other opportunities.
In addition, Marvel Studios has promoted the following West Coast based staff: Eric Rollman, to Executive Vice President, Animation and Television; Ames Kirschen to Senior Vice President and Executive Producer, Video Games; Craig Kyle to Senior Vice President, Animation; Jeremy Latcham to Vice President, Development and Production; Stephen Broussard to Creative Executive; and Joshua Fine to Story Editor, Animation.
Brief bios of new hires from the PR in the jump
Tim Connors, Executive Vice President of Business Affairs and Operations, joins Marvel from Technicolor where he served as Deputy General Counsel for Electronic Distribution Services. Connors also served in Business Affairs at DreamWorks SKG and as a Business Development Consultant for the Tokyo-based media company, Kadokawa Group Holdings.
Ross Fanger, Executive Vice President of Physical Production, is a co-producer on The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and previously worked as a co-producer for 20th Century Fox on such Marvel hits as the original X-Men, X-Men2, X-3: The Last Stand and The Fantastic Four.
Michael Brown, Senior Vice President of Marketing, joins Marvel after six years as Vice President of Marketing at Regency Enterprises. Brown oversaw marketing for all of New Regency theatrical releases, including Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Unfaithful, Daredevil, Big Momma’s House and Epic Movie.
Charlie Davis, Senior Vice President of Post Production, joins Marvel with 23 years of post-production experience in both studio and independent environments. Davis’ previous credits include: X-Men, Fantastic Four, the Alien/Predator franchises, Independence Day, Fight Club, Planet of the Apes, and the upcoming Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Live Free or Die Hard.
Rod Smith, Senior Vice President of Production Finance, joins Marvel with over a decade of production accounting experience. At Walt Disney Pictures, Smith oversaw production finance for films including The Game Plan, Santa Clause 3, and Eight Below. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President of Production Finance at Universal Pictures.
Elizabeth Lynch, Vice President of Legal Affairs, joins Marvel from Walt Disney Pictures & Television where she served as Executive Counsel, Legal Affairs. Prior to Disney, Lynch represented clients in commercial litigation as an associate at Brown & Wood LLP in New York City.
Jean-Claude Boursiquot, Director of IT and Studio Technology, joins Marvel from Webzen America were he served as the IT/Operations manager. He brings over 9 years of experience working for major corporations such as Atari and Nordstrom in IT management roles.
Matt Finick, promoted to Senior Vice President, Studio Finance and Corporate Development, has been with Marvel Entertainment since 2003, most recently serving as a Senior Vice President of Corporate Development in the New York office.