Marvel chief to step down

David Maisel will exit as chairman after Disney buys company

Marvel Entertainment said Monday that David Maisel will step down as chairman of the film studio after Disney buys the company, though he will remain executive producer on "Iron Man 2," "The First Avenger: Captain America" and "Thor."

Maisel was instrumental in striking a deal agreed to in August that will see Disney acquire Marvel for $4 billion, about $50 per Marvel share in cash and Disney stock.

Maisel gets more than $20 million when the deal closes, after stock he purchased is added to the lucrative stock and bonuses for which he's in line. Marvel shareholders are set to vote on the transaction at a special meeting Dec. 31.

Insiders said that if the deal doesn't close, Maisel probably would not resign his post immediately.

Maisel, described by one insider Monday as a "deal-making genius," joined Marvel in 2003 and helped secure the $525 million the company needed to produce its own movies. It was a transitional moment for Marvel, a comic book company that formerly only licensed its characters -- including Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four -- to other film studios.

Marvel stock traded for about $18 when Maisel joined the company six years ago. It closed Monday at $52.77.

Kevin Feige, who was made Marvel's production president in March 2007, coinciding with Maisel's appointment to chairman, will be the primary executive answering to newly appointed Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross after Maisel steps aside.

It is unclear what Maisel will do next beyond exploring other opportunities. Before joining Marvel, he worked at Disney and talent agencies Endeavor and CAA. At the latter, he worked closely with founder Michael Ovitz to close Seagram's 1995 acquisition of MCA Universal.