AU Press Releases

Cuneo to receive honorary degree

Peter Cuneo

Peter Cuneo

Alfred University (AU) will bestow a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa, on  Peter Cuneo, a 1967 alumnus of the University and chairperson of its Board of Trustees for the past six years.

Cuneo is perhaps best known, though, for leading the turnaround of Marvel Comics from a bankrupt comic book publisher to an entertainment industry giant.

“We are honoring Peter Cuneo for his leadership, his years of service, and his generosity, but we also recognize him for his extraordinary professional accomplishments,” said Alfred University President Charles M. Edmondson.

Cuneo will receive his honorary degree during the University’s annual commencement exercises, to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18, at McLane Center on the AU campus.

Also receiving an honorary degree that day will be Robert Benmosche, a 1966 alumnus of Alfred University who is now chief executive officer of American International Group (AIG). Benmosche will deliver the commencement address.

Cuneo is credited with seven turnarounds of distressed businesses in the global media and consumer products sectors, with perhaps the most visible the turnaround of Marvel Entertainment.  From 1999-2009, he played a lead role in the turnaround of Marvel Entertainment, Inc. As president and chief executive officer, he led Marvel, post bankruptcy, to a prominent position in the entertainment industry. After stepping down as president, he continued as vice chairman of the board of directors, providing active strategic leadership as Marvel continued to grow into one of the world’s largest entertainment brands, culminating in its $4.5 billion sale to Disney at the end of 2009.

In recent years, Cuneo has served as senior advisor to a hedge fund co-investing in select private companies in the consumer and media sectors.

Prior to joining Marvel, Cuneo was president and CEO of Remington Products Co., joining it as it was near bankruptcy. In less than four years, he executed a successful turnaround and facilitated its sale to private equity investors. He has also been president of the Security Hardware Group of the Black & Decker Corp., president of Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Group in Canada and president of the Clairol Personal Care Division.

Currently, Cuneo is managing principal of Cuneo & Company, a private investment and management company he owns in partnership with his sons Gavin and Colin. They focus on making investments in private companies within the consumer, retail and entertainment-oriented industries.

He is currently on or has been a member of public and private companies including Marvel Entertainment, Inc., Iconix Brand Group, WaterPik Technologies, Inc., and Remington Products Co.  He is currently on the board of the Foundation for the National Archives in Washington, DC, and is co-chair of its development committee. He and his sons hold board seats on most of the private companies in Cuneo & Co.’s portfolio of companies and work actively with their management teams.

Cuneo earned a Bachelor of Science degree in glass science from Alfred University, and an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He initially served on the AU Board of Trustees from 1990 to 1993.  He was re-elected to the Board in 1996 and has served as chairman of the board since 2007. He is a member of the executive, human resources, strategic planning and trusteeship committees. 

He served in the U.S. Navy in the Vietnam War.

Cuneo has made numerous speeches on leadership throughout the world. He is a frequent guest on business-oriented cable television.

Cuneo and his wife Maris live in Redding, CT, where Maris trains and cares for thoroughbred horses.  They have two grown children, Gavin and Colin.

The Cuneos are members of the Society of Benefactors at Alfred University.