Aardman Animations (Bristol, England, 44-117-984-8979): Having worked on shows including Bob the Builder, Pingu and Rubbadubbers as MD of HIT Entertainment’s HOT Animation studio, Jackie Cockle has just the right preschool programming credentials to help Aardman expand its portfolio of TV fare for this demo. Cockle joins the company’s in-house television production team as development producer.
Big Tent Entertainment (New York, New York, 212-604-0064): With great expectations for iconic brand Domo, the TV incarnation of which will launch on Nicktoons in the U.S. and on Nick’s international channels this year, the licensing agency has recruited Scott Devine to build connections with consumer products buyers as VP of retail development. Devine is well-skilled in this area, having led the Wal-Mart team at Random House for the past five years to achieve year-on-year sales results exceeding the big-boxer’s own growth rate.
Build-A-Bear Workshop (St. Louis, Missouri, 314-423-8000): Scott Seay has taken the reins at the make-your-own plush retailer in the wake of Barry Erdos stepping down as president and COO. Seay played a lead role in integrating Bear Factory into the company’s holdings last year, as well as setting up a top-notch distribution and logistics center to keep product flowing into stores.
CBS (New York, New York, 212-975-4321): As the broadcast net digs into launching its new licensing and merchandising division, Liz Kalodner has been tapped to run it as EVP and GM of CBS Consumer Products. The move to a commercial outfit represents a gear change for Kalodner, who held the same title at Sesame Workshop, a not-for-profit company that sometimes wrestles with justifying its more consumer ventures.
HIT Entertainment (London, England, 44-207-554-2500): Warren Traeger has joined HIT’s consumer products team as senior licensing manager of soft goods. The move leaves Entertainment Rights short a senior licensing manager for toys, gifts and food.
Jetix Europe (London, England, 44-208-222-3600): World-travelin’ kidnet exec Marc Buhaj is crossing oceans again to join Jetix as SVP of programming. A native Australian, Buhaj jumped around Turner’s holdings in Asia-Pacific for awhile (managing content for CN, Boomerang and Pogo channels across the region, and launching Pogo in India) before landing in the U.S. as VP of programming and scheduling at Cartoon Network and Boomerang. When he officially starts at Jetix in April, Buhaj will oversee production, development, acquisitions, scheduling, on-air promotions and multimedia programming. He replaces Michael Lekes, who left the company in September for personal reasons.
K’Nex (Hatfield, Pennsylvania, 215-997-7722): The construction toy manufacturer has promoted a couple of its sales and marketing execs this month in the calm before Toy Fair. Diane Adams moves up from VP of sales to SVP of global sales and marketing, while Barbara Rentschler goes from senior director of marketing to VP of global marketing.
Leapfrog Enterprises (Emeryville, California, 510-420-5000): As the ELA giant continues to refocus its business, international markets represent an important strategic goal. To lead the charge, new president and CEO Jeffrey Katz has set up Martin Pidel as EVP of international. Pidel hails from Hasbro, where he held senior marketing positions in a variety of European territories before taking on the whole ball of wax as VP of international marketing.
MTV Networks (New York, New York, 212-846-8000): Applying his skills beyond the tube, Noggin veteran Kenny Miller has left his VP of production and programming position at the tween channel to be part of a new global digital team devoted to guiding the development of multi-platform brands and exploring new business opportunities in next-gen media and technology. As executive VP and creative director, Miller will drive digital platform development and report to unit president Mika Salmi.
PBS (Arlington, Virginia, 703-739-5000): Having spent the past few years delivering content through new media vehicles, veteran journalist Jason Seiken has ended the pubcaster’s nationwide search for an SVP of interactive. Seiken was the founding editor of washingtonpost.com, after which he ran AOL’s channel programming group. Now he’ll oversee PBS sites including pbskids.org and pbskidsgo.org, as well as scouting for new opportunities for the channel’s brands on emerging broadband and mobile platforms.
Turner Broadcasting System (New York, New York, 212-275-6327): After seven years with the studio, Universal EVP of consumer products Beth Goss has jumped ship to oversee Cartoon Network’s Ad Sales, Marketing and Enterprises divisions. In her new role as EVP of the three teams, Goss will work with clients to develop long-term creative partnerships that take full advantage of the net’s kid-reaching tools.
TV-Loonland (Munich, Germany, 49-89-205-080): Trading in Princess Sissi for Little Princess, former Jetix Consumer Products Germany licensing director Bernd Conrad is TV-L’s new head of licensing and merchandising.
Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising (Los Angeles, California, 310-369-1000): Alison Wallace moves up from senior manager to director of licensing and will now manage the studio’s domestic apparel and accessories businesses.
Ty’s Toy Box (Erlanger, Kentucky, 859-282-8697): Having guided the licensed products e-tailer through several exclusive direct-to-retail deals as a consultant, Lisa Hallond has now joined the company’s executive ranks as COO. Before she started her own company, Toying With Success, Hallond was a category manager at Disney Consumer Products, where she helped the division grow its share of the girls role-play market from 2% in 2002 to 20% in 2004.
Upper Deck Entertainment (Carlsbad, California, 760-929-3482): With the trading card industry on the cusp of a major digital reinvention, Upper Deck’s latest recruit makes a lot of sense. The company has brought aboard Greg Goldstein as VP of gaming and entertainment, and the experience he gained as VP of brand development at Activision and as VP of licensing and development at Acclaim should help as the company prepares to launch new trading card lines with online gaming apps.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products (Burbank, California, 818-560-1000): Richard Goldsmith is going hunting in his role as SVP of new business initiatives, a division devoted to unearthing characters ripe with ancillary potential from Warner’s immense property library. Goldsmith, who left a VP of programming post at Univision Communications to join the ACME Lab (the new unit’s internal nickname), will focus on developing the untapped properties and devising media strategies to roll them out. Maribeth Towers-Toth will also shoulder an SVP role, managing the properties’ development in soft line categories.
Stepping in to replace Towers-Toth as VP of apparel and accessories for WBCP is Patti Buckner, who used to be VP of apparel. And Mike Gibbs has been promoted from VP of domestic business operations to VP of licensing business development and worldwide brand assurance.
Lastly, Preston Lewis has jumped studios to join as VP of international licensing. Lewis hails from Disney Consumer Products, where he most recently managed the Winnie the Pooh franchise worldwide.