4Kids Entertainment International (London, England, 44-208-871-2173): Simon Philips is taking over the reigns from retiring managing director Clive Hill and will oversee international licensing programs for brands like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Philips was previously CEO of Licensing Dynamics International, a leading agency working in the Middle East.
Commonwealth Toy & Novelty (New York, New York, 212-242-4070): The plush toy manufacturer has expanded its corporate roster with the addition of Caroline Wong as VP of licensing and business development. Wong’s resumé includes stints at United Media and Nelvana, but she most recently served as director of licensing at Sanrio, where she worked on the Hello Kitty brand. In her new role, Wong will oversee all licensing efforts for Commonwealth properties including American Greetings and Big Head First.
DIC Entertainment (Burbank, California, 818-955-5400): Bringing one of its key creative resources in-house, DIC has hired Kevin O’Donnel as senior VP of creative affairs. O’Donnel created DIC properties Liberty’s Kids and Super Duper Sumos while working under his Poet’s Road shingle, so he’s well-versed in the toon house’s editorial focus and sensibilities. His experience with interactive game and show development should also be put to good use at DIC, which is planning to up its presence in digital entertainment. First off, though, O’Donnel will dive into developing Stan Lee’s Super Seven, a co-pro with POW Entertainment.
KB Toys (Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 413-496-3000): The specialty toy retailer has bumped Charles ‘C.B.’ Alberts up from divisional merchandising manager for boys toys to senior VP of merchandising. Alberts has been with the company since 1979, when he started as a store manager.
Climbing the ladder a bit more quickly, William McMahon is also moving up from executive VP to COO; McMahon left his position at Ohio-based Decorative Concepts to join KB in March 2003.
MGM Home Entertainment Group (Santa Monica, California, 310-586-8590): Malik Ducard will lead the unit’s efforts to pick up more features, family programming and libraries as VP of worldwide business development and acquisitions. Ducard used to operate as executive director of business development and financial planning for MGM.
Picture Box Distribution (Vancouver, Canada, 604-681-3174): The youth and factual distributor has entered into a partnership with ex-Sullivan manager of Canadian TV sales Kate Sanagan. Based in Toronto, Sanagan will sell the Picture Box portfolio in Canada and the U.S., with shows like Edgemont and The Adventures of Shirley Holmes rounding out the youth catalogue.
Scholastic Entertainment (New York, New York, 212-343-7500): Understanding that too many cooks can spoil the broth, Scholastic Entertainment has named Arminda Figueroa as the singular project director on Latin American preschool toon The Misadventures of Maya and Miguel. She’ll handle all aspects of the property’s development and management, working closely with the Public Television Minority Consortia, whose mission is to increase the diversity of programming offered on public television.
Sesame Workshop (New York, New York, 212-595-3456): Bill Burke has been upped from director to assistant VP of marketing, and Natasha Fishman joins as director of retail business development. Fishman comes to the company from Scholastic, where she piloted e-commerce merchandising efforts.
TLC Entertainment (London, England, 44-208-789-4055): The licensing agency has poached Nathalie Hodge from Nickelodeon to look after its paper/gift, toiletries and housewares businesses for properties including Humphrey’s Corner and Lord of the Rings. As licensing manager at Nick, Hodge played a key role in implementing the SpongeBob Squarepants merch program in the U.K.
Tokyopop (Los Angeles, California, 323-692-6853): The manga publisher has tapped Masashi ‘Sho’ Matsuhashi to head up its Tokyo office as GM. Most recently, he was GM of Virgin Cinemas Japan’s business operations division. Matsuhashi’s previous roles have also included high-level management positions with Universal Studios Japan.
Walt Disney Company (Burbank, California, 818-560-8543): Andy Bird, who most recently headed up Time Warner’s TBS International as president, has been named president of international operations. Bird will be working closely with Disney CEO Michael Eisner to coordinate and oversee the company’s non-U.S. businesses to increase profit margins in emerging markets worldwide. Bird helped develop the TBS Europe arm that launched Cartoon Network abroad.
Warner Bros. Animation (Sherman Oaks, California, 818-977-8700): Roland Poindexter has come back to the kids biz as senior VP of action-adventure properties for WB Animation. He will oversee the creative development of action-adventure toons and supervise the creative direction of select current series in all genres. Poindexter served as VP and head of programming for BET just prior to the move, but he also did a stint in the same position at Fox Kids.