At San Diego the hottest barroom chatter was when and who there would be top exec removed at Marvel. And today we have reports that EVP and GN Peter Phillips and VP Digital media Kristen Vincent have both been let go.
Philips joined Marvel in 2011 and played a big part in Marvel’s expansion into digital, in publishing, gaming and streaming media. He was promoted from SVP to EVP in 2013. Vincent also joined Marvel in 2011 and both were a big part of Marvel’s public face to investors, often appearing at events such as SXSW or, as in this case, Phillips at the 2016 GamesBeat Summit 2016:
GamesBeat: Can you quickly walk through what you do, where you sit in the structure of Marvel?
Peter Phillips: My job involves three parts. The interactive piece of what I do is digital media, websites, apps, social media, plus games, which is separated out at our company. The third piece is content distribution to emerging platforms like the Netflix series, Daredevil and so on.
GamesBeat: You were talking about how Marvel is a pretty flat structure.
Phillips: We’re pretty non-hierarchical, yeah. It’s a lean organization. It works.
VERY lean. The departure of Phillips and Vincent follows a pattern of high level personnel being purged when sales slump. COO Jim Sokolowski was removed in 2011 (he’s since rejoined DC, making him a two-timer at both companies, amazingly.) Digital & Marketing SVP John Dokes was let go in 2012, followed by SVP/associate publisher Ruwan Jayatilleke in 2013.
Basically, I’m told, when people reach a certain level at Marvel, there is no place to go and they make too much money so its out the door they go. Also, digital maybe isn’t a huge profit center, so not the best place to be, as both Dokes and Jayatilleke’s departures shows.
It’s also an easy way to cut 6 figures from the budget. All part of Ike’s Way. I don’t know too much about Vincent, but Phillips was a well thought of exec and he should have no problem landing on his feet, as should Vincent.
Are the departures over at Marvel? I’m told there is a big struggle going on internally there, although it’s the kind of “smoke from the mountain top” thing where the details are hard to see from peon level. Word on the street type speculation is that at this time next year either E-i-c Axel Alonso or svp Sales and Marketing David Gabriel will have a new Linked In profile. But that could also be wishful thinking. I’ll say this, when both appeared on stage together at the Marvel presentation at the Diamond Lunch at SDCC, it was a very rare and special moment.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.