Atlantyca Entertainment (Milan, Italy, 39-022-996-1242): As Geronimo Stilton gets set to head into production with Canada’s 9 Story Entertainment and France’s MoonScoop Productions attached as co-pro partners, the book property’s Italian owner is staffing up to support the effort. As CEO, Claudia Mazzucco will guide the company’s expansion in businesses such as content acquisition, animation development & production and licensing & merchandising. Caterina Vacchi, meanwhile, is charged with running Atlantyca’s animation department as senior manager and executive producer. Both Mazzucco and Vacchi hail from publishing company Edizioni Piemme, which used to be owned by Atlantyca chairman Pietro Marietti.
CBS Consumer Products (New York, New York, 212-975-8127): Liz Kalodner has wasted no time in recruiting to staff up her new division, and the team she’s put together hails largely from the house that Bob and Barney built. Bill Burke, who worked with Kalodner for many years at Sesame Workshop, leaves his VP of brand management post at HIT to join as VP of marketing. Fellow Workshop alum Veronica Hart makes a similar jump, resigning as director of licensing at HIT to take up the same job at CBS, and Jorge Ferreiro moves laterally from HIT to CBS as SVP of creative.
Director of licensing JJ Ahearn and VP of marketing Jason Korfine stand alone as the only non-HIT recruits in this round of hiring; Ahearn defects from a director of retail and new business development role at Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products, while Korfine comes from the 4Kids fold, where he most recently worked as VP of marketing.
Chorion Silver Lining (New York, New York, TK): The US arm of Chorion is beefing up for bigger business this year with the appointment of three experienced execs. As global EVP of licensing and merchandising, former MGM Consumer Products TK Eric Karp will oversee sales & marketing, product development and approvals. SVP of global brand management Cheryl Gotthelf will liaise with the company’s creative, production, licensing and marketing teams to coordinate the launch of Mr. Men and Little Miss on Cartoon in the US and Five in the UK. And superserving Chorion’s signature evergreen brand Noddy in the US, Japan and Europe should keep Joan Blanski busy in her SVP of global brand management position. Gotthelf TKTKT KT TKKT K TKTKKT TKT TKTK TKT KTKTKKT TKKT T, while Blanski TKTKKTK TKTKT TTK TKKT TKT TKTKKTT KTKT TKTKKTTKT TKKTKT TKT TK TKTKT.
Disney Channel Asia-Pacific (Hong Kong, 852-2203-TKTK): The Eastern offshoot is banking on its latest hire to deliver deeper market insights and inform strategic planning. Daniel Shum has come aboard as head of consumer strategy and research, and will conduct studies in the region to get a bead on how Disney’s key franchises can forge stronger connections with consumers via marketing and programming initiatives. Prior to joining the Mouse House, Shum did a seven-year stint with Research International, most recently serving as MD for Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Ottawa International Animation Festival (Ottawa, Canada, 613-232-8769): As September’s fest draws closer, the organization behind the event has promoted Azarin Sohrabkhani from corporate sponsorship manager of OIAF to conference director of the Television Animation Conference, a two-day business forum that takes place during the festival on September 19 and 20. Sohrabkhani will oversee every programming aspect of the conference this year.
Toys ‘R’ Us (Wayne, New Jersey, 973-617-3500): As she eases into her new EVP and COO position, Claire Babrowski will no doubt leverage the expertise she built over 30 years at McDonald’s, where she started as a part-time employee and finished as SEVP and chief restaurant operations officer. But Babrowski will also bring the chain management skills she honed as RadioShack’s CEO, president and COO into play since one of her chief responsibilities is oversight of the toy retailer’s global franchise operations.