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By Kim Drunter
The DB, Financial Reporter
As told to David Gallaher
Would Howard Stark be proud?
After all, Stark Enterprises has come a long way since he first founded the company several decades ago – as Stark Industries. The fledgling company has gone on to pioneer innovations in everything from cell phones to telecommunication satellites, transforming into a multibillion-dollar industrial complex.
This exceptional success is due, in no small part, to the genius of Anthony "Tony" Stark, who inherited the company after the tragic death of his parents. With natural genius and keen insight, Tony has ushered in a new era for Stark Enterprises, which has recorded an estimated profit of $20.3 billion this year alone, plus generated several billion dollars more in assets.
Over the years, Stark has gone from strength to strength, taking on the most critical challenges—in national defense, resource development, and enterprise modernization, providing changing solutions for an ever-changing world. And, this diversified global company has something to offer to consumers, employees, and shareholders everywhere.
The proof of any organization's success, of course, is in its achievements – the pinnacle of which are the proprietary designs and the deployment of various suits of "Iron Man" power armor that play a vital role in safeguarding Stark's interests. Despite bankruptcy and previous hardships, stockholders remain comfortable knowing their investments come with the confidence of legendary performance – and the firepower to back it up.
For his employees, the scope of the Stark brand allows for many different career opportunities to exist across their international network of locations. Stark has accelerated the career paths of remarkable and loyal employees, including Pepper Potts, Harold Hogan, and James Rhodes. Whether as part of Stark/Stane International, Stark Solutions, or Stark/Fujikawa, the commitment of these employees has stood the test of time through several mergers, hostile takeovers, and managerial realignments. At various points in their careers, each has been given the opportunity to assume executive leadership in Stark's organization.
The company has also had its share of detractors, whom have sought to disturb Stark's technological triumphs through sabotage, vandalism, and terrorist activity. While troublesome, none of these criminal acts have had the level of fiscal impact as Stark's most well-publicized nemesis: alcoholism. While Stark has long since regained his sobriety, this pattern of behavior can give stockholders pause in a volatile market.
From his retaliation as a result of his stolen armor designs, to his role as spokesman for the Superhuman Registration Act, or to the recent repercussions of his battle with
the Hulk, Stark often finds himself cleaning up messes that he is partially responsible for making. However, one could see these actions as business assets that reflect Stark's unsurpassed determination in the face of tremendous adversity.
Not without his share of goodwill, Stark established the charitable Maria Stark Foundation to subsidize the actions of The Avengers, a superhuman taskforce, where he served as a founding member. Stark was also instrumental in the formation of the international law enforcement agency SHIELD, where he currently occupies the role of Director, a position formerly held by Nick Fury.
Certainly, the organization that Howard Stark built is in good hands, driven by the extraordinary leadership of his son. But in the wake of a troubled economy and coupled with the recent death of Happy Hogan and the further injury of executive Pepper Potts and the global malfunction of their technology, Stark Enterprises is facing a series of misfortunes that, if continued, could result in a total financial collapse – one that even the Invincible Iron Man can not save them from.
"Iron Man" DVD and Blu-ray on sale Tuesday, Sept. 30. Preorder the Iron Man DVD now in a two-disc special edition, a single-disc edition or an ultimate two-disc Blu-ray edition. And be sure to head over to the official Iron Man movie site.
Want to catch up on your Iron Man reading? Check out this list of essential comic collections. And don't forget to head over to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited for all the Shellhead stories you can handle!