People in new jobs

Activision (Santa Monica, California, 310-255-2000): Lori Plager joins as senior director of brand development and licensing, with a remit that charges her with bolstering the video game studio's roster of licenses with new deals and brand development partnerships. Plager has just come off a five-year stint as Mattel's director of entertainment and licensing acquisitions.
March 1, 2002

Activision (Santa Monica, California, 310-255-2000): Lori Plager joins as senior director of brand development and licensing, with a remit that charges her with bolstering the video game studio’s roster of licenses with new deals and brand development partnerships. Plager has just come off a five-year stint as Mattel’s director of entertainment and licensing acquisitions.

BAM! Entertainment (San Jose, California, 408-298-7500): Bernard Stolar has come aboard to guide the video game studio’s North American business operations and worldwide marketing and product development activities as president and COO. Stolar is no novice in the gaming world, having previously held top-level exec posts at Sony Computer Entertainment of America (executive VP), Sega of America (president and COO) and Mattel Interactive (president).

Big Idea Productions (Lombard, Illinois, 630-652-6000): As it continues to expand its business beyond Christian kidvids, Big Idea has lured Dan Merrell away from his director of product marketing post at Lyrick Studios to join as senior VP of marketing and sales. Bob Starnes has also been brought in to manage Big Idea’s ancillary activities as VP of publishing and consumer products. Starnes hails from book chain Lemstone Books, where he served as director of field operations and buying.

Cartoon Network Sales & Marketing (New York, New York, 212-714-5640): Phyllis Ehrlich has been promoted from VP to senior VP of promotions marketing, and her immediate goal will be to coordinate joint promotional initiatives with Kids’ WB! for programming that airs on both channels.

Cartoon Network Europe (London, England, 44-207-693-1000): After spending a year developing CNE’s ancillary business strategies, Simon George has been upped from director to VP of off-channel commerce. In addition to scouting for new licensing opportunities, George will continue to manage 180 licensees across all major product categories and a network of monthly Cartoon Network magazines in the U.K., Spain, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Germany.

Disney Channel (Burbank, California, 818-569-7500): As the Mouse House continues to tinker with its strategy and infrastructure for ABC Family, Disney Channel veteran Rich Ross has been promoted from GM and executive VP of programming and production to president of entertainment. Ross will now oversee development, programming and production for both Disney Channel and 14 hours of ABC Family’s weekly sked.

Gullane Entertainment (Toronto, Canada, 416-533-6767): Aiming to expand its global reach and its property portfolio, Gullane has brought on Bill Gross to manage and grow its brand lineup as senior VP of brand strategy. Gross previously served as co-founding president and CEO of Cartoon Pizza, a New York-based studio that produced hit animated series Stanley for Disney Channel. Gross also recently established an educon distribution relationship with Sesame Workshop on behalf of Cartoon Pizza.

Ian Castello-Cortes, who has been involved with the Guinness World Records brand for the past five years (most recently serving as VP of media), has been retained by the property’s new owner Gullane. As VP of the brand, Castello-Cortes will focus on guiding Guinness licensing and publishing efforts.

HIT Entertainment (London, England, 44-207-554-2500): Leaving a European brand manager gig at Hasbro, where she was responsible for Monopoly, Cluedo and the toyco’s roster of licensed games, Sally Sidani has joined HIT as brand manager for Bob the Builder, Pingu, The Magic Key and Oswald.

Igel Media Distribution (Hamburg, Germany, 49-403-068-9625): Victoria Valius has been promoted from VP of international sales to head of distribution.

JP Kids (San Francisco, California, 415-371-8600): Moving ahead full-steam on a mission to solidify its TV and feature film production role in the kids entertainment game, educon provider JP Kids has brought Rick Hawkins aboard as executive producer and senior VP of television and film. Hawkins’ producing and writing credits include ’80s live-action kids series Punky Brewster.

MTV Networks International (New York, New York, 212-258-8959): Upped from VP to senior VP of programming, marketing and operations, Lisa Hackett will steer programming, production and marketing initiatives among the group’s many MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1 channels and websites worldwide, as well as overseeing the launch of new broadcast outlets.

Adding a leadership remit for Nickelodeon Latin America to her roster of corporate duties, Antoinette Zel has been promoted from executive VP and managing director to president of MTV Networks Latin America.

Salsa Entertainment (Miami, Florida, 305-461-9858): The TV-Loonland distribution subsidiary has upped Jerry Diaz from head of sales to executive VP, with overall management responsibility for the Miami headquarters. Morgan Favennec has also been promoted from director of sales for France, French-speaking territories, Spain and Portugal to director of acquisitions. And lastly, Luis Sourdis moves up from operations manager to sales and operations manager, with his sales remit covering the regions of Central America, the Caribbean and the Andes.

Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment (Culver City, California, 310-244-4000): SPDE has launched a brand-new unit called Sony Pictures Integrated Network, which is designed to run on-line promotional efforts across the studio’s various divisions. SPDE veteran Ira Rubenstein has been named senior VP of the offshoot arm and will generate web hype for the studio’s entertainment properties using such tools as on-line marketing partnerships, web games, e-commerce and content syndication.

Walt Disney Television Animation (Burbank, California, 818-560-1000): Tracey Wise has left her director of development post at Fountain Productions to join the Mouse House as manager of development for Disney video premieres.

Warner Bros. International Television Distribution (Burbank, California, 818-977-6681): German kids TV veteran Sylvia Rothblum has left her position on the EM.TV board of directors to serve as the WB distribution subsidiary’s managing director of all German-speaking territories.

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