Aardman Animation (Bristol, England, 44-207-706-1046): Thanks to the theatrical success of Chicken Run and Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the toonco has poached the president of 20th Century Fox International to act as its head of features and COO. Stephen Moore is charged with building the studio’s international presence and will take a lead role in managing Aardman’s five-picture deal with DreamWorks Animation.
BKN International (Paris, France, 33-1-53-77-2888): Laura Tapias now heads up BKN’s recently established Kids New Media subsidiary in Barcelona as managing director, after serving for the past two years as the company’s U.K. equivalent of VP of sales and marketing for Spanish, Portuguese and Italian speaking territories. The new office is also Sherlocking the industry for a marketing assistant and a financial manager to help coordinate its growing licensing, merch and promotional activities in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Latin America.
Breakthrough Entertainment (Toronto, Canada, 416-766-6588): The prodco has tapped Nat Abraham, who most recently worked as an independent distributor in the Canuck market, as its head of Canadian acquisitions and sales for its newly created unit, dedicated to making third-party acquisitions. In the kids arena, expect to see Nat at the markets scoping for live-action and educational programs produced in the U.S., Australia and the U.K.
Cartoon Network Enterprises (Atlanta, Georgia, 404-885-2263): As part of its global licensing and merch business expansion, three new hires follow up last year’s State-side appointment of Christina Miller as VP for U.S. consumer products. Rick Blanco leaves his post as senior creative manager for Mattel Brands to take up the Burbank, California-based position of director of hardlines design. Former senior director of retail development at Nickelodeon Consumer Products Deena Boykin becomes the senior director of retail development, based in New York, while Daria Cronin, former director of softlines at HIT Entertainment, has been poached to fill the same post at CNE in New York.
CCI Entertainment (Toronto, Canada, 416-964-8750): After a three-year hiatus from the industry, Charles Falzon returns to CCI as its co-chair. The former head of Catalyst Group (until it merged with Cambium in 2001 to form CCI) and Gullane Entertainment (until 2002) will focus on growing the company by pumping up branding for properties such as Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs and upcoming CGI comedy Erky Perky. Falzon will also be charged with consulting the prodco on international property acquisitions.
Cookie Jar Entertainment (Montreal, Canada, 514-843-7070): As newly appointed VP of marketing and consumer products for Europe, Charlotte Hargreaves becomes Cookie Jar’s first licensing and merch exec stationed across the pond. She’ll focus on cultivating opps in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Meanwhile, her experience as former VP of international licensing for Sony Pictures Consumer Products will serve her well, as she looks to appoint licensing agents for The Doodlebops and get the company’s first boys actioner Spider Riders onto the Euro radar screen.
Crux Research (Honeoye Falls, New York, 585-624-9150): The Honeoye, New York-based survey research and consulting firm has named John Geraci as its new president and COO. The former VP of youth research at Harris Interactive brings 17 years of market research experience to the firm, and will be working with its key accounts for custom market research solutions.
FremantleMedia (London, England, 44-207-691-6000): Exploiting new digital platforms is the priority for Gary Carter, the company’s new senior executive VP of worldwide entertainment. Working in conjunction with colleagues at FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide, the former consultant for Worldwide Entertainment will create new brands and exploit current TV programs such as kid-targeted Planet Cook on mobile, IPTV and game consoles. He’ll also be on the lookout for the next viable digiplatform while formulating business models to exploit developing multimedia channel opps.
Hasbro (Pawtucket, Rhode Island, 401-431-8697): After a six-year tenure at the toyco, Brian Goldner has been upped from president of the U.S. toy segment to COO. He’ll oversee the North American toy and game operations while also glancing across the pond to shore up worldwide product development. On the heels of this promotion, Hasbro restructured its U.S. toys and games segment into a single division with a North American focus. Frank Bifulco, the former games segment president, will now act as the division’s chief sales officer, reporting to Goldner and looking after trade marketing for the new toys and games division.
HIT Entertainment (London, England, 44-207-554-2500): The European office has scrapped its former brand-centric structure in favor of forming three new business units and promoting four insiders. Katie Rollings, former brand director, gets bumped to VP and leader of the new U.K. Consumer Products unit, which will look after all HIT brands. Laura Clarke, former senior brand manager, takes the post of director of licensing and Katie Price moves up from head to director of publishing for the new EMEA Business Development unit. Dave King, ex-sales and marketing director, will build on the company’s video business and grow interactive merchandise and live events as VP of the new Entertainment division.
In HIT’s New York office, Bill Burke will take on the new role of VP of brand management, overseeing Barney and The Wiggles, as well as brands from The Jim Henson Company – Fraggle Rock and Animal Jam. Burke was previously assistant VP of marketing, global consumer products for Sesame Workshop.
The Jim Henson Company (Hollywood, California, 323-802-1500): As its new senior VP of feature films, Jason Lust will build on his previous experience as a partner at management and production company Circle of Confusion, scouting children’s books, comics and video game properties to develop for the company’s movie slate. Big adventure, live-action films top his list right now, and existing Henson titles such as Fraggle Rock may also make the move to the big screen. Although live-action is his primary focus, animated projects from third parties will also make up part of the slate. He is also looking for the right feature film opportunity to use the company’s animation technology HDPS (the Henson Digital Performance System).
Kidz Entertainment (Copenhagen, Denmark, 45-33-25-8046): Anna Lisa McBride has been upped to become a member of the senior management team as brand director for the company that focuses on the Nordic region. She’ll lead the brand strategy charge while her management cohort Morten Geschwendtner looks after licensing, promotions and PR, and Clause Tomming concentrates on television, video, interactive and mobile opportunities.
Nelvana (Toronto, Canada, 416-530-1191): In a move that’s sure to get industry execs talking, Nancy Fowler has returned to the Great White North as senior VP of global licensing for Nelvana. She was whisked away from Burbank, California-based DIC Entertainment, where she served as president of worldwide consumer products. She’s now in charge of the Canadian toonco’s worldwide licensing, marketing and creative services teams, and reports to executive VP of business development Doug Murphy. On the heels of her appointment, Nelvana has upped three execs in its licensing sales division. Mark Northwood will add looking after Latin America to his VP of licensing for North America remit, and change his business card to read VP of licensing for the Americas. Former manager for international licensing Lily Yan has been named senior manager, while Lisa Green moves from the post of licensing coordinator to account executive.
RDF Media Group (London, England, 44-207-013-4000): ITV’s former director of programs Nigel Pickard joins the reality-show-producing company in March as director of family and children’s programming, and he’ll be the managing director of a new subsidiary in line to develop and produce programming for children.
Scholastic Media (New York, New York, 212-343-6100): Bringing 25 years of licensing experience to the global children’s book publisher is Gary Hymowitz, the newly named VP of consumer products. Scholastic scooped up Hymowitz from SG Footwear, where he held the VP of licensing and marketing position, and he’ll apply his portfolio-management skills to steering the future development of the company’s licensed properties.
TPS Jeunesse (Paris, France, 33-4-133-8800): Her tenure as assistant director of youth programming at M6 has prepped Laurence Begeot for her new role as director of programming at the French satcaster. She’ll oversee preschool-targeted Piwi, kid-focused Teletoon and educational cablenet Eureka! Plans are in the works to launch new morning, afternoon and nighttime blocks on Piwi next month, and she’ll be charged with designing a new structure for the fall grid.
VEE Corporation (Minneapolis, Minnesota, 612-375-9670): As the prodco’s new general sales manager, Mary English will be in charge of sales and business development for the design, production services and costume creation units. The former sales manager for Carlson Marketing Group brings over 17 years of experience to the table. Her colleague Deb Miller has been promoted to senior account manager, where she will work on major projects such as the NBA All-Star Jam and General Mills Cereal Adventure.
Wild Planet (San Francisco, California, 415-705-8300): As the new director of national accounts, Louis Rhuda will manage sales for many of the California-based toyco’s U.S. mass retail accounts. The Southern Illinois University graduate has put in many long years as a manager for Sportcraft and as a liaison for Wal-Mart before joining Wild Planet. He will be working directly under worldwide sales senior VP Dave Scanlin.
Yoram Gross-EM.TV (Camperdown, Australia, 61-2-9519-1366): With Yoram Gross selling its 50% stake in the animation production company to shareholder E.M. Entertainment, former general manager Geoff Watson moves up to the post of MD from GM. He’s zeroing in on the development of two new series, preschooler Zigby the Zebra and core kid-targeted Space Blog. Developing consumer products apps for mobile phones and interactive-DVD formats also ranks high on his to-do list.