On Monday, Marvel announced the exit of two key execs, sending stock tumbling 3%. According to ICv2:

Marvel Entertainment has announced the departure of two key members of its licensing team, Tim Rothwell, President of Worldwide Consumer Products, and Bruno Maglione, President of Marvel International. Although not nearly on the order of magnitude as the loss of Avi Arad (see “Avi Arad Leaving Marvel”), the departure of Rothwell and Maglione could signal an end to the halcyon days of Marvel licensing.

With the highly successful duo leaving, speculation is rife. ICv2:

Perhaps Marvel’s licensing mavens have just maxxed out the potential of the company’s library of more than 5,000 characters (of which only a handful have demonstrated major licensing potential so far). Maglione was able to raise international licensing revenues as Marvel-based movies raised the worldwide profile of the top Marvel superheroes.

Motley Fool just threw up its hands, perhaps signalling the end of Marvel as a Street darling.

Times are increasingly tough for true believers in Marvel Entertainment (NYSE: MVL). Stockholders saw their shares decline by more than 3% today, on news that two top executives have left the company.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Barely a month after Avi Arad decided to become an independent producer, Tim Rothwell, president of Worldwide Consumer Products, and Bruno Maglione, president of Marvel International, have, according to an internal memo obtained by The Motley Fool, “decided to pursue other opportunities.”

Usually, such codespeak masks a rift between the top brass and departing executives. That may be the case here, but I’m unwilling to speculate. As one of our community members pointed out on our discussion boards, it’s impossible to know the real reasons, and the departures may be exactly what Marvel needs.

Still, the timing stinks. Rothwell and Maglione each get to walk away with a year’s worth of salary and medical benefits and a portion of unpaid bonuses, while Marvel does bullpen-by-committee, spreading the remaining work among seven executives, according to the internal Marvel memo.