Her Interactive (Bellevue, Washington, 425-460-8787): Gearing up to launch a super-sleuthing CD-ROM game featuring both Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys next fall, the software studio is bringing in a big gun to make sure this new title – and Her’s perennial Nancy Drew line – benefits from every possible sales opportunity. Joining as VP of sales is Susan Sloan, who comes off a regional sales stint at Ubi Soft, but has also served on sales teams at Simon & Schuster Interactive, Hasbro Interactive, Electronic Arts and The Learning Company over the course of her career.
HIT Entertainment US (New York, New York, 212-463-9626): Jean Lemmey has left her director of retail development post at Hasbro to take on a similar but expanded position at HIT. Based out of the company’s U.S. headquarters, Lemmey will work with retail partners to grow home video and consumer product sales. But as director of retail development, promotions and broadcast relations, she’ll also develop and implement promotional partnerships and liaise with HIT’s broadcast partners in preparation for celebrating the 60th anniversary of Thomas the Tank Engine and the relaunch Bob the Builder on TV and in store aisles.
Jetix Consumer Products (London, England, 44-208-222-3600): As the kidvid market continues to mature with deeper penetration of DVD players and direct-to-video product, Jetix’s merch division has put Tina Lorenzo in charge of maximizing its properties in this medium. Working as director of international home video, Lorenzo will manage the global home entertainment rights to a catalogue of more that 6,500 hours of kids action-adventure programming. At the top of her priority list is gaming property Sonic X, as well as Korean graphic character Pucca and PorchLight’s Egyptian-themed toon Tutenstein. Lorenzo hails from Carlton Visual Entertainment, where she served as head of acquisitions for nearly 10 years.
Marvel Enterprises (New York, New York, 212-576-4000): Tapped to spearhead a deal with Lions Gate Home Entertainment and co-produce made-for-DVD movies starring Marvel’s superheroes, Eric Rollman has joined the comic conglom as senior VP of home entertainment and TV production. His first DTV project, slated to hit retail in early 2006, will be based on The Avengers. Rollman used to be president of Fox Family Productions, and he worked on shows like Power Rangers and Digimon until Disney bought Fox Family Worldwide in 2001. In the ensuing years, he started up indie production company Rollman Entertainment and has consulted on and developed various TV and film projects.
On the toy side of Marvel’s business, two veteran execs have been promoted to head up operations at Toy Biz. Ralph Lancelotti (previously executive VP of sales) and Joann McLaughlin (previously senior VP of product development) bring two different sets of skills to the table, and as co-COOs, they will apply their expertise to manage day-to-day operations. They’ll also continue to supervise their respective divisions.
Nintendo of America (Redmond, Washington, 425-882-2040): Taking the prize for most corporate shuffling this month, the gameco has bumped up a number of mid-level execs. Robert Matthews moves from director of advertising and promotions to senior director of consumer marketing, while regional specialist Steve Singer goes from GM of marketing in Latin America to senior director of sales and marketing for the region. Sales director Kevan Wilson has been upped to senior director of the team, and Casey Pelkey will manage all on-line activities as business director of publications, up from internal communications manager.
Sesame Workshop (New York, New York, 212-595-3456): Charged with spreading the word about the Workshop’s global brands (including Sesame Street and Elmo’s World) through promotions, trade shows and marketing communication, Debra Regan has come aboard as director of international marketing. Regan hails from Toys ‘R’ Us, where she served as director of strategic alliances and worked with promo partners on direct marketing and loyalty programs.
Sony Pictures Consumer Products (Culver City, California, 310-244-7788): Studio-jumper Candace Irving has come over from Warner Bros. Consumer Products to drive U.S. sales for SPCP. The division’s new director of domestic sales will start off focusing on key theatrical properties including Zathura, a holiday 2005 flick based on Jumanji author Chris Van Allsburg’s book about two brothers whose house is sucked into outer space when they play a magical board game. Irving, who was part of the U.S. sales group at Warner, will manage a licensee base that spans the categories of ancillary toy, automotive, back-to-school, collectibles, costumes & accessories, gift & novelty, paper & party goods, seasonal products and social stationery.
Meanwhile, Yvonne Soderberg has been upped from director of marketing and brand planning to executive director of marketing. Soderberg joined the company five years ago from Disney Consumer Products and has since set up and implemented numerous consumer cross-promotions, including the Kids’ WB! J-Team in-school education program. In her new role, she will outline marketing and product strategies for Sony’s first CGI film Open Season (2006), which will feature voicework by Ashton Kutcher and Debra Messing and tell the story of a domesticated grizzly bear who’s stranded in the woods during hunting season with a nitwit mule deer.
Taffy Entertainment (Woodland Hills, California, 818-999-0062): On the heels of launching as a new rights management and distribution division of Mike Young Productions just six months ago, Taffy is already setting up consumer products operations under the management of ex-Lucasfilm licensing exec Eric Stein. With programs for properties including Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Pink Panther under his belt, Stein will cut his teeth at Taffy on Pet Alien, a 26 x half-hour CGI comedy co-pro that will be rolling out across nine Cartoon Network Europe channels in January.