ABC Cable Networks Group (Burbank, California, 818-569-7500): Just back from overseeing the launch of Disney Channel Japan, Jill Casagrande has rejoined the State-side team as senior VP of worldwide programming strategy. She will manage the company’s global programming assets and look for ways to maximize them across various divisions.
Atomic Cartoons (Vancouver, Canada, 604-734-2866): Edward Peghin has joined the five-year-old toon studio as COO and will oversee all production and marketing/sales initiatives. An entertainment lawyer who also has directing and producing credits on his resumé (Scoop and Doozie for the CBC), Peghin repped Atomic during the sale negotiations for its newest TV series project Atomic Betty, which is scheduled to start airing on Teletoon and Cartoon Network Europe in Q3 or Q4 of this year.
Entertainment Rights (London, England, 44-208-762-6200): After just six months with the company as director of marketing and brands, ex-Ragdoller Anya Hollis has been promoted to director of marketing and consumer products. Hollis will map out strategic licensing and marketing plans for ER’s many kids brands under her new remit.
Meanwhile, Jane Saul will ply the skills she picked up working on Thomas the Tank Engine live events at HIT Entertainment for her new employer. She moves up from VP to director of live events and will be responsible for licensing ER characters and properties for use in live stage shows, theatrical presentations and costumed appearances.
Fox Kids Europe (London, England, 44-207-554-9000): Paul Myers has been tapped to manage the company’s kid-targeted U.K. website (www.foxkids.co.uk), which attracts more than 710,000 unique users each month. As U.K. website producer, Myers will focus on initiatives that drive registration, build site loyalty and attract new users, and he’ll also develop FKE’s corporate website. Myers previously worked at Celador International as a web editor/communications exec.
And Antoine Villeneuve has left his Canal+ International director position to head up Fox Kids France, managing both the channel and its merch division, Active Licensing France. Villeneuve replaces Gaspard de Chavagnac, who has left to join Fremantle Media France as deputy director.
Gap (San Francisco, California, 415-952-4400): Ivy Ross has jumped from Mattel to join the apparel retailer as executive VP of product design and development for its Old Navy brand. Prior to the move, Ross was Mattel’s senior VP of worldwide girls product design and development.
Infantino (San Diego, California, 858-457-9797): Laying the groundwork to expand its toy lines, the infant products manufacturer has snapped up execs from Bandai and Learning Curve to lead the charge. Lisa Gelford has come aboard as director of toy development from Learning Curve, where she was design director and led the development of a Lamaze line.
And Merrie Dudley has left her design director and assistant marketing manager position at Bandai to join as director of juvenile product development. As such, she’ll oversee Infantino’s carrier, head support and travel accessory lines, as well as two new categories that are in the works.
Nickelodeon (New York, New York, 212-258-8000): Nick has created a new rung for its top programming exec Cyma Zarghami, who has been promoted from executive VP and GM of the channel to president of Nickelodeon Television. A 17-year Nick veteran, Zarghami has been credited with developing and managing an unbelievable number of hit shows, including SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly OddParents, Dora the Explorer and Rugrats. She will now be responsible for diginet Noggin/The N (which reaches into 40 million homes), as well as continuing to oversee Nickelodeon Games and Sports and Nicktoons and all program development and production activities.
Oregon Scientific (Tualatin, Oregon, 503-639-8883): Ian Desberg has come back to the toy world after a hiatus as a brand manager at start-up marketing firm Garage Manufacturing. Working as senior product marketing manager of Oregon’s Electronic Learning Products division, he will develop new product concepts, come up with ways to extend existing lines and market new releases in North America. Desberg has more than 12 years experience in the toy industry, having held positions at Fisher-Price and 4Kids Entertainment in the past.
Peak Entertainment US (Fort Lee, New Jersey, 201-944-9004): The U.K. prodco has hired Silly Goose Company CEO and president Laura Wellington to head up its new State-side arm as VP of entertainment. As such, Wellington will work on securing financing, distribution and consumer products partners for all of Peak’s properties, which include Monsters, Little Big Feet and Faireez. Wellington’s own show concept The Wumblers is currently in production at Peak, and Cosgrove Hall has been signed to animate the project.
Scholastic (New York, New York, 212-343-6100): Heather Myers has been brought in as senior VP of strategic planning and business development and will work towards coming up with blueprints to better maximize and expand all of the company’s business units. Myers cut her business-planning teeth at Universal Studios, where she has held such positions as project manager of acquisition integration (overseeing the Polygram merger) and executive VP and GM of digital music division Universal Globe-e.
Tokyopop (Los Angeles, California, 323-692-6700): Planning to expand its business across the pond in 2004, the U.S. manga and anime specialist has brought in Dennis McGuirk to lead the charge as retail sales director for the U.K. Given that McGuirk’s last postion was director of sales and marketing for Chrysalis Children’s Books, his kids publishing expertise should come in handy as Tokyopop exports its cine-manga format of licensed manga for younger readers.
What Kids Want (Northridge, California, 818-775-0375): The toy manufacturer has lured Dave Schwartz away from his VP of marketing position at Funrise to join as senior VP of marketing. And one of the first products he’ll start building buzz for will likely be Wubbles, a new self-soaping bubble blower. Schwartz will be aided by marketing manager Jamie Mendoza, who most recently worked for plush manufacturer Applause.