Cartoon Network Europe (London, England, 44-207-693-1000): Charged with picking up the right toons to play on Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Toonami channels across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Cecilia Persson has joined as director of acquisitions. She’s probably already knee-deep in kids programming catalogues, a situation that isn’t likely to change given CNE’s commitment to expanding its international reach each year. Persson previously held the same title at Middle Eastern digital satellite broadcaster Showtime.
Celador (London, England, 44-207-845-6999): Setting up a permanent unit devoted to its growing children’s entertainment business, Celador has hired Nelvana Enterprises veteran Cathy Laughton to lead the charge as head of kids programming. Laughton has been freelancing out of London as a consultant to clients including Entertainment Rights and Varga since leaving Nelvana as managing director two years ago. Now she’ll concentrate on finding, acquiring and developing new shows for Celador’s portfolio, as well as heading up program sales. Laughton will kick off a major distribution push for Celador’s newest buys Roobarb & Custard and Tales of the Riverbank at MIPTV.
Cookie Jar Entertainment (Los Angeles, California, 323-850-9380): The Jar has scored a hiring home run with the appointment of John Gildea as its new senior VP of consumer products. Boasting 17 years at Hasbro in senior executive roles including VP of licensing and consumer products and senior VP of new business development, Guildea is primed to expand the company’s merch business and build brand awareness initiatives for new products.
Meanwhile, in the company’s Toronto, Canada office (416-977-3238), Kelly Elwood has been promoted from VP of marketing and licensing to senior VP of marketing.
CopCorp Licensing (New York, New York, 212-947-5958): Hunting down new properties to rep will be part of Jodi Gottlieb’s expanded remit as the agency’s licensing director. Until now, Gottlieb has focused on building merchandise programs for clients including JK Benton Design Studios (It’s Happy Bunny and Franny K. Stein) as licensing manager.
Dargaud Distribution (Paris, France, 33-1-5326-3100): The growing company seems to have sorted out its team following the recent acquisition of Dupuis by Dargaud shareholder Media-Participations, and a few veterans are moving into new roles in the process. Justine Bannister, formerly head of international distribution for Dupuis, will oversee sales of the 1,000-hour combined catalogue and hunt for new properties to expand it even more as head of international distribution and acquisitions. Bannister’s sales team will now consist of sales and marketing manager Michele Massonat, sales executive Victoire de Mones, sales executive Alexia Lepere and servicing manager Christophe Lucas.
Disney-ABC Television Group (London, England, 44-208-222-1000): A major restructuring of Disney’s television operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa has bumped two key execs up a level. John Hardie, who jumps from senior to executive VP and managing director of branded television, will now oversee operational aspects of the Disney Channel business in these regions. And Tom Toumazis moves from senior to executive VP and managing director of Buena Vista International Television to govern program sales, marketing, finance, business affairs and portfolio development for the distribution outfit.
Jetix Consumer Products International (London, England, 44-208-222-5857): Poached directly from a senior VP of European sales post at 4Kids Entertainment International, Richard Woolf has joined Jetix CP as head of international sales and marketing.
Lions Gate Family Entertainment (Santa Monica, California, 310-449-9200): As part of a plan to restructure the division to reflect the fact that its scope has grown beyond direct-to-videos to encompass theatrical releases and TV shows – and to fill the big hole left in the wake of division president Glenn Ross’s departure – LGFE has shuffled up its executive ranks. Anne Parducci takes on oversight of the development and creative on the unit’s entertainment projects, moving up from executive VP of marketing to executive VP of family entertainment and marketing. Executive VP Ken Katsumoto will now acquire family-centric properties for the division, in addition to directly managing the development and production of proprietary IP. And Michael Rathauser moves up from director of marketing to VP of family entertainment and will continue working on building up the launch of the first Barbie Fairytopia DTV title this spring.
New Line Cinema (New York, New York, 212-649-4900): On the heels of surpassing US$1 billion in worldwide retail sales of Lord of the Rings merch, New Line has recruited two execs to bolster its licensing efforts. Ed Bolkus, who was a senior art director at DC Comics prior to joining the studio, will now oversee the creative and approvals process in categories including apparel, home furnishings, collectibles and paper goods as VP of product development and merchandising. And Lourdes Arocho comes aboard as director of international licensing and merchandising. Poached from a senior manager of creative product and development position at Scholastic Entertainment, Arocho will work with New Line’s agents and licensees to size up deal proposals and coordinate international merch programs.
NHK (Tokyo, Japan, 81-3-5455-5873): Japan’s public broadcaster will be run by new president Genichi Hashimoto for the next three years, on the heels of the Board of Governors approving his candidacy. Hashimoto has been with NHK for 37 years, having joined fresh out of college in 1968. Most recently, he had served as general managing director and executive director general of engineering. Hashimoto has started his new job off on a progressive note, appointing Taeko Nagai as his VP; Taeko is the first woman to hold this position at NHK.
Nickelodeon (New York, New York, 212-258-8000): To give her more planning power for worldwide promotions and pan-regional marketing deals, Pam Kaufman has been upped from senior VP of marketing to executive VP of marketing and worldwide partnerships. In her new role, Kaufman will work on establishing marketing partnerships to boost the domestic and international profile of diginets The N, Noggin, GAS and Nicktoons, as well as Nick proper.
Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products (New York, New York, 212-258-8000): Newly promoted division president Leigh Anne Brodsky is restructuring her team to build a bigger global profile for Nick’s brands. First to switch from a domestic to an international role is Jim Davey, who moves from VP of toys and marketing to senior VP of global consumer products marketing and planning. A number of Viacom properties will be added to Davey’s global marketing checklist, including Star Trek, South Park, MTV’s international licensing and select Spike TV properties. Tanya Haider has also been upped from VP of strategy and business development for Nick alone to VP of Nickelodeon and Viacom International Consumer Products. She’ll now oversee business in Canada, Asia, Latin America and Europe.
Taking on broader domestic responsibilities, Sherice Guillory-Torres has been promoted from VP of packaged goods, home and gift to VP of hard goods. And Hal Snik has been similarly bumped from VP of apparel, accessories, stationery, activities and social expressions to VP of soft goods.
PorchLight Entertainment (Los Angeles, California, 310-477-8400): In honor of his 10th anniversary at the prodco, Fred Schaefer has been promoted from VP to senior VP of animation. An original member of the PorchLight creative team, Schaefer was the guiding force behind productions such as Emmy Award-winning Discovery Kids series Tutenstein, as well as Four Eyes, a co-pro that’s been presold to France 3 and Disney Channel UK.
Ragdoll (Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, 44-178-940-4100): After helping to build Ragdoll’s licensing and product development team, Emma Rogers takes on her first formal title at the company as head of UK licensing and marketing. She’ll work closely with Andrew Kerr and the marketing team to secure new British licensees for Ragdoll’s existing and developing brands.
Russ Berrie and Company (Oakland, New Jersey, 201-405-7977): To push the growth of its premium incentive and department store accounts, the plush manufacturer has hired Margi Dorger as VP of strategic sales. Dorger comes to Russ from French dinnerware and gift outfit Haviland Limoges, where she served as president. She’ll work closely with product development teams in the U.S. and Hong Kong to create new products and marketing plans.
Sesame Workshop (New York, New York, 212-595-3456): The executive producer of Ghostwriter (PBS/BBC) and Out There (The N/BBC/ABC Australia) has been poached by the Workshop to take on a new role. Working under the mantle of senior VP of creative, Liz Nealon will head up the company’s studio business, overseeing both domestic and international productions of Sesame Street, as well as TV, home video and themed entertainment development.
Tomy (Newport Beach, California, 949-955-1030): Tomy has brought in George Funk as VP of sales for its North American division. Working out of the Japanese company’s California office, he’ll initially focus on the launch of new product lines such as Copter Command, Street Burners and Scent Stars dolls. Funk most recently served as executive VP of sales for gift manufacturer Simple Wishes.
Wild Planet Toys (San Francisco, California, 415-705-8300): Scott Ray has been lured back by a VP of international sales and marketing job at Wild Planet. Ray left in 2002, after putting in five years as the toyco’s VP of marketing, to set up an international toy consulting business called Alliance Trade Group. Part of the team once again, he’ll manage accounts in more than 30 countries and keep an eye out for new distribution territories.