Movies
Published April 17, 2020

Pepper Potts – The Greatest CEO in the MCU

A look at Pepper Potts’ rise from personal assistant to CEO of Stark Industries.

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When you need to hit your mark on the first try, you call Hawkeye. When you need someone who could do this all day, you call Captain America. When you need the best, most high-tech tech in the world, you call Tony Stark. And when you need to know that things are running efficiently, smoothly, and under control, you call Pepper Potts.

While she might not be an official member of the Avengers, (though she does have her own suit and joined the final battle in Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame), it’s clear that Pepper Potts’ presence among the Super Heroes always has a positive effect on the group. She’s incredibly smart, organized, is not afraid to call someone out on their nonsense. Though he might not have known it immediately, this led to Tony’s realization that the future of Stark Industries lied with Pepper, not with him. Tony’s greater role was to be the Avenger’s leader, which made Pepper the perfect candidate to bring Stark Industries into the future. 

We first meet Pepper in Marvel Studios’ Iron Man where she’s working as a personal assistant to Tony. Though it’s not necessarily in her job description, she’s responsible for “taking out the trash” when Tony gets himself into sticky situations. This cements her as someone Tony can trust, and turn to for advice. Following the death of Obadiah Stane, it was a logical conclusion for Pepper to take over his responsibilities.

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As Tony took on more tasks as Iron Man, he took a big step back from overseeing the business side of his long-standing company. Another logical conclusion? Pepper should run Stark Industries. By the time we reach Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 2, Pepper has proved herself to be invaluable to the company, and also Tony. She’s very much a calming presence in his life, which keeps him level-headed and constantly striving to be a better man. 

Her position of power grew threefold for Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3, considering she was now CEO of Stark Industries, fighting off the Extremis virus and Aldrich Killian, and trying to help Tony fight his inner demons. And, on top of everything else, after becoming infected with the Extremis virus herself, Pepper’s the one to save the day in the end. With all the Iron Man suits out of commission, and Killian coming in hot (literally), Pepper delivers the final blows to take him down. When’s the last time your CEO fought off a mad scientist and saved the world? 

From there, it should have been smooth sailing for Pepper, Tony, and all of Stark Industries. For a time being it was! Even after Pepper had to scramble when Spider-Man was not introduced to the press in Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man: Homecoming, she managed to keep things up and running. Later, she and Tony would discuss starting a family together... but then the events of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War happened.

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Through this challenging time, Pepper continued to lead the company during all the highs and lows following the Blip. Good thing Tony put her in charge all those years ago, right? Certainly, it’s a job that many people could have done, but in this case, Stark Industries really needed the right woman in charge. As Tony told Pepper in Iron Man, “You are the most capable, qualified, trustworthy person I've ever met.” We couldn’t agree more.

See Pepper Potts’ ascension of the best exec in the MCU with Marvel Studios’ Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, all streaming anytime on Disney+.

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