DIC Entertainment (Burbank, California, 818-955-5400): Nancy Fowler, president of worldwide consumer products, has padded out her division in preparation for taking some time off to welcome her first child this month. Having put in 10 years at the company, Ryan Gagerman moves up from executive director of international licensing to VP of international consumer products. The promotion puts Gagerman in charge of managing worldwide publishing agents and licensees, as well as all international licensing programs for DIC’s animated properties.
To help him out, Lorne Bloch has been poached from his manager of domestic licensing position at Viacom Consumer Products to serve as director of licensing. And Stephanie Mente, who used to be a licensor relations supervisor at Vivendi Universal Games, joins as manager of international consumer products.
Discovery Networks US (Silver Spring, Maryland, 301-986-1999): Just as the Upfront TV ad-buying spree starts to heat up in the U.S., Robert Voltaggio has been brought in as VP of ad sales revenue. He’ll primarily be involved in managing inventory and setting prices for airtime on 14 channels including Discovery Kids and Animal Planet. Voltaggio recently did the same kind of thing for AMC and Women’s Entertainment as VP of pricing and planning, but before that, he spent six years in various management roles as part of ABC Family Network’s sales planning team.
Disney Channel UK (London, England, 44-208-222-1000): James Neal has been upped from programming and commissioning editor to VP of programming, and he’ll oversee content teams working on Disney Channel, Playhouse Disney and Toon Disney. As he continues to tinker with the on-air identities of all three channels to make sure they’re connecting with Brit kids, Neal says Playhouse is the most receptive port of call for acquisitions these days, and local-market appeal is key to piquing his interest.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises (La Jolla, California, 858-459-9744): As the company’s lean consumer products team gears up to manage all merch rights to a Horton Hears a Who CGI flick that’s in development at Blue Sky Studios for Fox, Susan Brandt has been upped from senior VP to executive VP of licensing and marketing. Brandt is planning a broader program for the 2008 feature, reaching into mass as well as the mid- and upper-tier channels that are familiar territory for Seuss’s 35 existing licensees. She will also be looking for a new U.K. agency to handle the overseas rollout.
Gary Caplan, Inc. (Studio City, California, 818-980-1191): Josh Wormser has finished making a jump that’s been seven months in the offing, leaving his family’s sleepwear manufacturing business to head up soft goods and new business development at GCI. When investment firm Wynnchurch Capital purchased an 80% stake in Wormser Company in March 2001, Josh continued serving as president and sitting as an active board member while the new management team settled in and restructured the business, but now he’s ready to branch out and play a different licensing role.
His first priority at GCI, a consulting outfit that reps consumer products manufacturers interested in stepping up their licensing activity, will be to build a stronger apparel/accessories client base. (This is a comfort zone for Wormser, since many of these categories’ chief manufacturing and retail issues are the same as the hurdles he dealt with in sleepwear.) Once this year-one task is accomplished, Josh plans to start looking at how to expand into infant, automotive and pet products.
Jetix Europe (London, England, 44-207-805-7120): On the heels of acquisitions director Henrietta Hurford-Jones announcing her resignation, Nathan Waddington has shifted from his head of programming position at Fox Kids UK to replace her. At the same time, Michael Lekes has been upped from director of creative development for pan-European programming to senior VP of programming. Hurford-Jones plans to take some time off before making her next move in the TV business.
In other Jetix news, Mel Alcock will now oversee consumer products and commercial sales. He used to just head up the latter department as executive director, but as senior VP of commercial sales, Alcock will now work closely with Richard Woolf (head of international sales and marketing) and Tina Lorenzo (director of international home video) on the merch side of the business. This reorganization comes in the wake of JCP managing director Ronnie Cook’s departure at the end of February.
PBS (Alexandria, Virginia, 703-739-5000): The pubcaster has lured Mark Pifer away from Cartoon Network to join its consumer products division as director of acquisitions. Pifer was with Cartoon for four years, most recently helping the company grow its home video, VOD, theatrical, consumer products and interactive revenues as director of business operations. Now he’ll be focusing on retroactively picking up vid rights to extend the reach of select PBS programming into the home entertainment realm. And working closely with senior director of children’s programming Linda Simensky, Pifer will also be on the prowl to pick up new kids content that can air on the channel and feed into his PBS Video portfolio.