Marvel redraws executive ranks

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Marvel Studios has tapped a slew of new executives and promoted others, while Michael Helfant, the studio's president and COO, has been forced out.

The company plans to announce today that it also has named as its chairman David Maisel, who joined Marvel four years ago and was responsible for establishing its $525 million film fund that has allowed Marvel to make its own movies rather than rely on licensing arrangements with other studios.

Maisel runs Marvel Entertainment, the studio's corporate parent, along with Isaac Perlmutter and John Turitzin. Before joining Marvel, he held posts at the Walt Disney Co., CAA and Endeavor.

Helfant has been executive producing "The Incredible Hulk" and "Iron Man," the latter of which began principal photography Monday. Those are the first two films that Marvel is self-producing under the film fund.

Marvel hired Helfant in November 2005 after he served as COO at Beacon Pictures. His duties at Marvel will fall to president of production Kevin Feige, whose role will expand into overseeing TV shows, direct-to-DVD product and video games.

Feige is a seven-year Marvel veteran who has been involved in bringing some of its biggest superheroes to the big screen, including Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. He has been executive producing "Hulk" with Helfant and is producing "Iron Man," along with Avi Arad.

Arad had been chairman of Marvel Studios until leaving last year to create Avi Arad Prods. The chairman post remained empty until it was filled by Maisel.

Among the new hires set to be announced today are Tim Connors as executive vp business affairs and operations; Ross Fanger, executive vp physical production; Michael Brown, senior vp marketing; Charlie Davis, senior vp postproduction; and Rod Smith, senior vp production finance.

Connors was with Electronic Distribution Services and was an executive with DreamWorks SKG. Fanger is a co-producer of movies in the "X-Men" and "Fantastic Four" franchises. Brown was with New Regency; Davis' credits include "Independence Day" and "Fight Club"; and Smith was with Disney and Universal Pictures.

"With these moves, the build out at Marvel Studios to support all of its exciting new efforts is largely complete," Marvel Entertainment chairman Mort Handel said.

The company also hired Elizabeth Lynch as vp business and legal affairs and Jean-Claude Boursiquot as director of IT and studio technology and promoted Matt Finick to senior vp studio finance and corporate development.

Promotions also went to Eric Rollman, Ames Kirschen, Craig Kyle, Jeremy Latcham, Stephen Broussard and Joshua Fine.
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