Why Donald Trump Gave Marvel’s CEO a Shout-Out in His Press Conference
Amid the boasts about creating jobs and denials of salacious rumors, President-elect Donald Trump took a moment during his press conference on Wednesday to heap some praise on Ike Perlmutter, the CEO of Marvel Entertainment.
While announcing the news that he has picked David Shulkin (a previous appointee of President Barack Obama) to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, Trump also mentioned that Perlmutter has been “very, very involved” in advising Trump’s team on veterans affairs issues. Trump also called Perlmutter—the Israeli-American executive who became Marvel’s CEO in 2005—”one of the great men of business” in the Wednesday press conference, Trump’s first as president-elect.
“We’re going to straighten out the VA for our veterans,” Trump said of his administration. “I’ve been promising that for a long time.”
A source with knowledge of the matter confirmed to Fortune that Perlmutter will take on an informal, though “significant,” advisory role in Trump’s administration with respect to veterans affairs. The role will not affect Perlmutter’s job as Marvel CEO, the source added, which means he will not be stepping aside at the Walt Disney-owned entertainment unit.
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There had already been some speculation that Perlmutter would find a role in the incoming Trump Administration, with The New York Post last week citing anonymous sources who said the Marvel CEO would be a key aide on veterans affairs for Trump’s team. Perlmutter received some criticism last year for his support of Trump’s campaign, which included donating $1 million to the fundraiser for U.S. military veterans that Trump held a year ago as an event meant to upstage a GOP primary debate. Perlmutter—himself a veteran of the Israeli Army—is known to support causes aimed at benefitting military veterans, and Marvel last year partnered with the non-profit veterans charity, Wounded Warrior Project.
Perlmutter bought Marvel out of bankruptcy in the late-1990s and remained in the CEO role even after selling the company to Disney in 2009 for $4 billion. That deal proved to be extremely successful for Disney, as the entertainment giant has turned Marvel’s iconic comic book empire into a massive movie franchise that includes billion-dollar films such as Captain America: Civil War and The Avengers series. The sale also reportedly netted Perlmutter a large chunk of cash and Disney stock worth more than $1.4 billion.