Acclaim Entertainment (Glen Cove, New York, 516-656-5000): Rod Cousens has moved up from global president and COO to take over the CEO reins from Gregory Fischbach, who will resign the position he’s held for 16 years to concentrate on his role as co-chairman of the board.
Discovery Communications (Silver Spring, Maryland, 240-662-2000): Coming off a six-year stint at NASCAR, where she oversaw the account management, new business and retail development units, Deirdre Scott joins as VP of domestic licensing.
Hasbro (Pawtucket, Rhode Island, 401-431-8697): Alfred Verrecchia, who joined the toyco 38 years ago as a junior accountant, has made it to the top of the corporate ladder. The Hasbro veteran was recently bumped up the final rung from president and COO to CEO.
And Frank Bifulco will now head Hasbro’s U.S. Games division as president, overseeing the Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers lines. Bifulco previously served as chief marketing officer and senior VP.
Kellogg USA (Battle Creek, Michigan, 269-961-2000): The packaged goods giant has appointed a new lord of the munchies in Brad Davidson, who’s been promoted from executive VP and chief customer officer of the U.S. Morning Foods division to president of U.S. Snacks.
Midway Games (San Diego, California, 773-961-2222): Trading Playboy bunnies in for power-ups, David Zucker has left his COO and president position at Playboy Enterprises to join Midway as president and CEO.
MTV Networks (New York, New York, 212-258-8000): Longtime kids programming executive Herb Scannell has taken on responsibility for Noggin along with his new group president title. Scannell will also continue to oversee Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, TV Land and TNN.
Optical Image (Broome, England, 44-156-270-0404): Melanie Tauchmann has joined the indie animation and post-production studio as head of sales and development. Hailing from Germany’s Trixter Film, where she served as VP of sales and acquisitions, Tauchmann will focus on developing new show concepts and ferreting out partners to produce them with. Optical is currently churning out season two of preschool toon The Jellies, as well as a 50-minute, 3-D direct-to-video fairytale called Sindy for VCI in London.
National Geographic Television and Film (Beverly Hills, California, 310-858-5225): Kids programming and production president Donna Friedman Meir is padding out her division’s executive ranks with the addition of VP of development Tara Sorensen, who used to be Sony Pictures Family Entertainment’s VP of creative affairs. Sorensen will oversee the development and production of original programming for preschoolers to tweens, as well as forging relationships with talent and broadcasters.
New Line Cinema (New York, New York, 212-649-4900): Randi Goodman has been upped from VP to senior VP of domestic licensing and merchandising. Goodman will continue to manage the categories of apparel, gifts, collectibles, home furnishings and social expressions.
Playhut Entertainment (Los Angeles, California, 909-869-6563): Noelle Wright has joined the rapidly growing entertainment subsidiary of toyco Playhut Inc. as creative director. Wright, who recently served as VP of development at Netter Digital Entertainment, will focus on guiding the development and production of animated kids shows and spin-off products.
Portfolio Entertainment (Toronto, Canada, 416-483-9773): The Canadian prodco has lured ex-CCI Entertainment development and licensing & merchandising exec Kate Horton, who joins as creative director. And Stephen Kelley has jumped ship from his VP of sales and marketing position at Salter Street Films International (now owned by Alliance Atlantis) to become Portfolio’s head of international sales.
Sesame Workshop (New York, New York, 212-595-3456): The Workshop apparently loved Peter van Roden’s work on the Sesame Street 4-D Movie Attraction that opened at Universal Studios Japan this May – he’s been given a newly created VP of themed entertainment position. Van Roden will work on expanding Sesame’s relationships with partners in the fields of theme parks, attractions and live shows.
Sony Pictures Consumer Products (Culver City, California, 310-244-7788): SPCP has moved its European office from Munich to London, ensconcing Charlotte Hargreaves as president of international licensing. Hargreaves (who used to be BBC Worldwide’s head of global toys and promotions) will oversee SPCP’s international agents and deals, as well as working closely with her U.S. colleagues on global promotional initiatives.
Tokyopop (Los Angeles, California, 323-692-6700): As licensing and merchandise sales director, Kathryn Klingler will be focused on developing merch programs that encompass toys, games, apparel, back-to-school, bedding, stationery and social expressions for Tokyopop’s growing roster of properties, including Rave Master, Stray Sheep and Initial D. Prior to joining Tokyopop, Klingler helped build Seventeen magazine into a fashion and lifestyle brand as Primedia’s senior director of licensing.
Toys ‘R’ Us(Paramus, New Jersey, 201-262-7800): On the heels of leading TRU’s international, Babies ‘R’ Us and Toysrus.com divisions to achieve their best results ever last year, Rick Markee has been bumped up to vice chairman and president of U.S. Toy Stores. Eight years ago, the former president of specialty businesses and international operations founded Babies ‘R’ Us, the retailer’s most successful division to date.
Working with Markee as senior VP of marketing for U.S. Toy Stores will be Amy Parker, who previously held a senior VP of advertising and marketing post at arts & crafts retailer Michaels Stores.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products (Burbank, California, 818-954-7890): With a remit that’s all about taking care of TV merch business, Maryellen Zarakas has joined WBCP as VP and GM of television licensing. Zarakas has spent the last 10 years at Disney Consumer Products, most recently serving as VP of global toys and retail.
Xilam (Paris, France, 33-1-40-18-7200): Executive producer Emmanuelle Colin has left Alphanim to manage rival animation studio Xilam’s TV productions. Next up on the series slate is Tupu, a 26 x half-hour toon about a Tarzan-like little girl who lives in Central Park that will air on France 3 and Disney France.