Bardel Entertainment (Vancouver, Canada, 604-669-5589): Former Walt Disney Television Animation director Keith Ingham has joined the Canadian toon studio to guide the production of Silverwing as director. Based on the same-name Kenneth Oppel book, which went on to spawn a trilogy that has sold upwards of 600,000 copies worldwide since it was first published in 1997, Silverwing tells the story of a young bat who strays from his colony while migrating south for the winter. The series is slated to debut on Teletoon in fall 2003. (See ‘UpNext’ on page 24 for more info.)
BAM! Entertainment (San Jose, California, 408-298-7500): Gearing up for the all-important holiday season, the video game studio has hired Jill Braff to spearhead its advertising and promotional activities as senior VP of worldwide marketing. Although Braff most recently served as senior VP of sales and marketing at on-line photography company Photopoint Corporation, she previously implemented the Internet strategy for The Learning Company/Mattel’s US$500-million education division and launched Sega of America’s first batch of CD-ROM titles, including Sonic the Hedgehog and Daytona USA. A 2003 project for which Braff will no doubt start developing a strategy soon is the holiday launch of a full line of Carmen Sandiego video games, based on the kids CD-ROM software franchise that sold more than six million units and spawned an Emmy-winning TV series for Fox. firstname.lastname@example.org
Discovery Consumer Products (Bethesda, Maryland, 301-986-0444): Merch industry veteran Sharon Markowitz Bennett has stepped up to lead the division’s domestic and international licensing businesses and long-term educational initiatives as senior VP of strategic partnerships and licensing. Prior to joining Discovery, Markowitz Bennett served as senior VP of North American licensing and merchandising at Saban Consumer Products, where she managed 250 partnerships for franchises like Power Rangers and Digimon in her five-year run with the company.
Learning Curve (Chicago, Illinois, 312-981-7000): The specialty toyco has hired Mary Cerjan to guide the growth of its best-known evergreen doll line as Madeline’s senior brand manager. Prior to joining, Cerjan did a stint as senior brand manager for home fragrances manufacturer Blyth Inc.
Lego Media International (Slough, England, 44-175-349-5000): Moving back over into the toyco’s core business after two years spent establishing the TV and film unit as global VP of children’s programming, Conny Kalcher will be managing the ‘Stories’ end of Lego’s Stories & Action product grouping. One of four thematic/demographic units that make up Lego’s new organizational structure, Stories & Action encompasses lines aimed at four- to 11-year-olds, including the Star Wars, Harry Potter and Jack Stone ranges. As she eases into her new remit, Kalcher will continue to executive produce two Bionicle screen spin-offs that are being produced and distributed by Miramax–a September 2003 direct-to-video called Bionicle: Mask of Light and a CGI feature film that’s planned for 2004.
Kalcher’s departure from the TV unit will be eased by the promotion of kids TV veteran Vanessa Chapman from controller to global controller of programming and strategy. Since joining the company two years ago, Chapman has spearheaded the development of Little Robots, which will debut on BBC in spring 2003.
Janice Ross (email@example.com) has also moved up from senior licensing manager to head of U.S. children’s programming, a promotion that will see her guiding all State-side Lego productions, including the two Bionicle projects with Miramax.
Old Toledo Brands (New York, New York, 212-695-7200): The exclusive manufacturer of Jeep-branded adult and kids clothing has brought Tom ‘Buffalo’ Kinzer aboard as president of sales and marketing for the property, which is repped by the Joester Loria Group for out-licensing initiatives. Kinzer’s brand management career spans 25 years and includes the development of surfwear franchises Jimmy’z and Ocean Pacific.
Radio Disney (Burbank, California, 818-973-4680): Jean-Paul Colaco jumps up from VP and GM to president and GM of the growing radio network that now broadcasts into 46 U.S. markets, as well as Argentina and Japan. Colaco will continue to oversee Radio Disney programming, marketing/promotions, ad sales, research, acquisitions and international expansion plans.
Signatures Network (San Francisco, California, 415-247-7400): Ruth Ann Garfein has left her licensing manager position at Universal Studios Consumer Products to come aboard the music merchandising and licensing agency as manager of licensing and marketing. Signatures counts Alicia Keys and Britney Spears among its teen talent roster.
Sony Computer Entertainment of America (Foster City, California, 650-655-8000): Gearing up to take PlayStation 2 into the broadband zone, SCEA is shuffling its upper ranks, starting with the promotion of senior VPs Andrew House and Jack Tretton to executive VPs. House will manage North American marketing, as well as cementing the licensee relationships and strategic partnerships that are part of SCEA’s third-party program. Tretton, meanwhile, will manage the first-party program and oversee sales in North America and Latin America.
The CDM Company (Newport Beach, California, 949-644-2820): Senior VP and creative director Edward Ball adds GM of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s Kids business to his title. With offices in the U.S. and Hong Kong, CDM does strategic promotional planning for clients such as Lego, Viacom and Radio Shack, as well as full-scale premium product development for the likes of Taco Bell, Loews Cinemas and Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s. firstname.lastname@example.org
United Media (New York, New York, 212-293-8500): The licensing agency has upped Helene Gordon (email@example.com) from brand director of Peanuts to director of sales, with responsibility for the company’s entire portfolio of brands, including Galidor, Miffy and The World of Beatrix Potter.
Debra Aviles (firstname.lastname@example.org) is stepping up from licensing manager for toys, stationery, apparel and accessories to oversee the Peanuts brand, which brings in more than US$1.2 billion a year in worldwide retail sales.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products (Burbank, California, 818-954-7890): With a remit that has him devising sticky marketing strategies to hype the division’s product releases in international territories, Grant Besser has been promoted from marketing director of international licensing to VP of international commercial marketing. No stranger to the global licensing scene, Besser served as the Latin American marketing manager for Turner Licensing and Merchandising before joining Warner. email@example.com