4Kids Entertainment (New York, New York, 212-758-7666): 4Kids has named Carlin West its senior VP of new concept acquisition and development. At 4Kids since 1993, the former senior VP of marketing and licensing will be responsible for identifying and developing new product concepts and non-TV-based properties. Taking over from West as senior VP of marketing and licensing is Tony Reed. Reed, formerly senior VP of corporate marketing, joined 4Kids in 2001 and previously worked at General Mills and Stride Rite. In his new position, Reed will manage the strategic development, licensing and marketing of key 4Kids brands including Cabbage Patch Kids, Winx Club and Magical DoReMi.
Meanwhile, 4Kids subsidiary The Summit Media Group has named Lee Ravdin as president, replacing Sheldon Hirsch who resigned as CEO earlier this year. Ravdin has more than 30 years experience as a media buyer and planner of kids’ media, most recently as president at full-service media company, Lake End Consulting.
American Greetings (Cleveland, Ohio, 216-252-7300): Betts FitzGerald takes on the VP of outbound licensing role for the recently established American Greetings Properties (AGP). In addition to finding new licensing partners for the company, FitzGerald’s responsibilities include shepherding properties in development. Most recently she was senior VP of brand management at Port Chester, New York-based Lisa Marks & Associates. Lindsay Martinez joins AGP as brand manager, with a focus on overseeing Holly Hobbie. Prior to picking up with AG, Martinez worked in brand management at New York City’s The Beanstalk Group.
BBC (London, England, 44-208-743-8000): Richard Deverell steps into the hole left by the departure of Alison Sharman late last year as the new controller of BBC Children’s. Moving up from COO and acting controller of Children’s, he’s now steering the Beeb’s kids programming further into the digital realm. Anne Gilchrist gets moved from executive editor of independents and events to the brand-new post of CBBC creative director. She’s now responsible for all CBBC content and kids programming on BBC One and Two as well as CBBC’s on-line initiatives.
BKN International (Paris, France, 33-1-53-772-888): The global animation company has set its sights on the U.K. video and new media market with a new offshoot, BKN Home Entertainment. Operating out of London, MD Matthew Graham-Clare and production director Mark Saxe are in the process of setting up shop. Graham-Clare most recently worked as DVD division manager at Universal Pictures, while Saxe stepped over from BBC Worldwide (production director of BBC Video) to join BKN.
Cookie Jar Entertainment (Montreal, Canada, 514-843-7070): Flagship brands The Doodlebops, Caillou and Arthur now have Jean Gauvin’s full-time attention as he steps into the role of creative director. Gauvin will tap into his 20 years of experience in the graphics field to guide the company’s global entertainment, licensing and corporate creative image. He most recently served as VP of graphics and design at Effigi.
Disney Channel Worldwide (Burbank, California, 818-560-1000): Former VP Adam Bonnett has been promoted to senior VP of original series. He will continue to oversee all live-action and animation development for Disney Channel and Jetix U.S. Jeff Brustrom gets bumped up to VP of live action from his director role, and on the animation side, Disney landed Emmy Award-winning animator Mike Moon to take up the VP of animated series post.
HIT Entertainment (London, England, 44-207-554-2500): The prodco’s head of international TV & video is now its VP of television distribution for EMEA. Marie Chappelow will manage HIT’s broadcast and new media platform sales in the region.
Chris Taday takes on the newly created director of promotions and sponsorship role. Taday, who has worked as VP of European promotions at Sony’s Columbia Tristar Films, will consolidate and
build promo plans for the company’s properties. He’ll also be responsible for targeting sponsorship of DVD releases, live events and third-party promotions.
IDT Entertainment (Newark, N.J., 973-438-1000): The former head of worldwide marketing for Artisan Pictures is now IDT’s executive VP of marketing. Amorette Jones will head up all marketing and branding strategies including advertising, publicity, promotions and licensing efforts. Her number-one priority will be building buzz around IDT’s first full-length CGI feature film, Yankee Irving.
Jakks Pacific (Malibu, California, 310-456-7799): Lauren Whitehead takes on the role of director of licensing – upped from senior licensing manager. Whitehead was instrumental in launching the Fly Wheels and WWE Classic Superstars lines and her new remit covers licensing for interactive, girls toys, crafts and activity toys, preschool and music product categories.
Lucky 13 Consulting (Bridgewater, New Jersey, 908-227-4165): Rick Goralnick is now MD at Lucky 13, where he’ll be using his licensing knowledge to consult. Goralnick parted ways with Crayola-brand owner Easton, Pennsylvania-based Binney & Smith in February after four years of managing its global licensing business.
MGM Consumer Products (Santa Monica, California, 310-449-3000): Randy Nellis trades Shrek for the Pink Panther as he moves from the role of creative director at DreamWorks Consumer Products to VP of creative at MGM. He’ll be shepherding the design direction of the company’s entire property portfolio, as Darren Kyman comes aboard as director of worldwide marketing and promotions. Under his new remit, he’ll be developing and executing worldwide brand strategies. Warren Schorr hops over to MGM as its director of retail business development from apparel manufacturer Mighty Fine, where he served as VP of sales and marketing. He’ll now spearhead the company’s worldwide retail development, retail promotions and direct-to-retail initiatives.
MTV Networks International (New York, New York, 212-654-3000) Nickelodeon Japan has a new VP and GM in Ed Wells. Formerly the director of program sales and consumer products for Nick Asia/Pacific in Singapore, Wells is now stationed in Tokyo, and will focus on developing the brand on multiple platforms. He’ll also be driving global franchises Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues and SpongeBob SquarePants across ancillary lines of business in the region.
Nickelodeon (New York, New York, 212-258-8000): There’s been a whole lot of moving and shaking going on at the top-rated U.S. kids net. Tom Ascheim is taking on a more senior role in overseeing day-to-day operations, moving from executive VP of Nick’s diginet to executive VP and general manager of Nickelodeon television. Steve Youngwood, who has been responsible for expanding content into video games, records, DVDs, cell phones, book publishing and most recently iTunes, assumes the role of executive VP of Nickelodeon digital media. He’s charged with leading and managing Nick’s platform expansion and also oversee the group’s wireless, gaming, interactive TV and digital video initiatives.
On the merch side, Tanya Haider has been promoted to senior VP of Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products. Haider most recently served as VP of the division and has been credited with establishing merch ops in China and Japan, while doubling the net’s 2005 ancillary business overseas.
Nickelodeon Movies (New York, New York, 212-258-8000): Former feature development executive Julia Pistor has been promoted to executive VP of Nickelodeon Movies, and will oversee the release of all Nick feature films. Michelle Raimo, a 13-year development and production veteran, joins the division as senior VP of production. She will work with Pistor and her team on upcoming feature film projects such as the new CGI/live-action adaptation of Charlotte’s Web.
Random House Inc. (New York, New York, 212-782-9000): Best known for her expertise in creating children’s novelty formats such as pop-up books, Robin Corey is now the VP and publishing director for Randon House’s newly created imprint, Robin Corey Books. Corey’s focusing on creating high-end novelty formats based on original stories and recasting classic kids tales in a new printed format. The first titles should rollout in 2007 and retail for US$15 and up. Previously, she worked at Simon & Schuster as executive VP and publisher of novelty books and teen publishing.
Target Entertainment (London, England, 207-323-7900): Target has appointed Oliver Ellis to the newly created position of director of children’s and family programming. Primarily a distribution and licensing house in the kids arena, Target’s now looking to produce children’s programming and Ellis will be on the hunt for suitable co-production opportunities.
Toys ‘R’ Us (Wayne, New Jersey, 646-366-8822): Moving from general merchandising as vice chairman of U.S. chain Target to specialty retail, Gerald Storch takes over as chairman of the board and CEO at TRU. Storch will build on the TRU brand both in the U.S. and internationally and will continue to grow the Babies ‘R’ Us business.
Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising (Los Angeles, California, 310-277-2211): As the new VP of retail marketing, Jeffrey Shapiro will serve as a key member of the division’s leadership team, managing the company’s retail relationships. Shapiro comes to Fox from rival Sony Pictures Consumer Products, where he served as executive director of retail sales and promotions. In another move, Dan Shapiro has been promoted to executive director of licensing from director of licensing and will manage gift, seasonal, novelty and domestics/housewares merchandise for all Fox TV and film properties, as well as oversee the studio’s Animation Art business.
Young Minds Inspired (New York, New York, 212-286-1000): The developer of in-school curriculum-based programs has a new VP of sales. Henry Watkins, the former VP of business development at U.S. cablenet TV One, takes over the post and will be responsible for creating and implementing an overall sales strategy. Watkins will also serve as a liaison to promotion and advertising agencies across the U.S.