Chorion (London, England, 44-207-061-3800): Chorion is adding weight to its London-based team in anticipation of a robust rebirth for 60-year-old classic Noddy and the Euro launch of The Mr. Men Show in 2009. David Walton joins as senior retail manager for Europe after four years in various sales and marketing roles at Hasbro UK. And operating specifically in the UK market, Melanie Humberstone-Garley has been upped from senior licensing manager to territory manager. Humberstone-Garley came to Chorion as part of the company’s absorption of The Copyrights Group, which it acquired last year. She spent much of her time overseeing Beatrix Potter and Paddington Bear, two classic book-based brands that are ripe for further development.
Disney Consumer Products (Burbank, California, 818-560-1000): Working towards racking up US$30 billion in retail sales this year, DCP has added a new management layer to its corporate structure between chairman Andy Mooney and the heads of its various licensing businesses. Working as EVP of global licensing, Jessica Dunne will now oversee these units, leaving room for former EVP of global franchise marketing Vince Klaseus to step into her vacated role as EVP of global toys.
From there, the shuffle trickles down as follows: Pamela Lifford’s role as EVP of global home grows to encompass responsibility for apparel, accessories and footwear; SVP of global stationery Mark Coleman takes on managing the infant products team; and J.D. Edwards has been named SVP of global food, health and beauty.
Jim Calhoun swaps category management for retail planning, leaving his EVP of global apparel position to oversee North American retail strategies and work with Walt Disney International to maximize Disney Consumer Products’ businesses in Mexico and Brazil as EVP of DCP North America. He’ll work closely with Jim Fielding, a Disney Store veteran who recently traded in his EVP of retail sales and marketing stripes to run the Disney Store Worldwide retail business as president.
Echo Bridge Entertainment (Needham, Massachusetts, 781-444-6767): The company that picked up the Alliance Atlantis distribution catalogue has hired a seven-year Alliance veteran to sell it. Christopher Stafford has joined Echo Bridge and will handle sales in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the Middle East.
Entertainment Rights (London, England, 44-208-762-6200): ER has poached a digital media strategist from Oprah’s Oxygen net, and he’s poised to start moving brands from the Classic Media and Big Idea portfolios into VOD, broadband, mobile, IPTV and downloadable games. As SVP of business affairs for the North America and Global Digital divisions, Fabian Milburn will also handle legal, administrative and business affairs for ER’s State-side holdings. Milburn held an SVP of business affairs post at Oxygen, but he also worked at Fox Family Channel back in the day.
Galleon Holdings (London, England, 44-208-987-0011): Galleon has brought in interactive programming expert Mahesh Ramachandra to monetize its IP across multiple platforms and territories. Working as global director of entertainment, Ramachandra will oversee the company’s convergent media strategy, chiefly focusing on the recently launched series Super Soccer Star. Prior to joining Galleon, he served as VP of international and product development at mobile content specialist Cellcast, overseeing interactive format programming across the company’s global network.
Hasbro (Pawtucket, Rhode Island, 401-727-5000): In his first move as CEO, Brian Goldner has tapped 26-year Hasbro veteran David Hargreaves to serve as COO, managing global manufacturing and sourcing, as well as day-to-day execution of global sales and marketing strategies. Hargreaves came up on the finance side of the business, most recently serving as CFO, a role he’ll continue to hold.
Hoping to replicate the breakout success of last summer’s hit movie Transformers, the toyco has also created a brand-new SVP and managing director of motion pictures position for Bennett Schneir, who will focus on overseeing Hasbro’s new six-year strategic partnership with Universal Pictures. The two companies plan to produce at least four movies based on classic toy brands such as Candyland, Stretch Armstrong, Clue and Monopoly. Schneir has a solid cinematic pedigree, having worked on feature projects including Beowulf, Monster House and The Polar Express at Robert Zemeckis’ ImageMovers Digital production company, most recently as VP of creative affairs.
HIT Entertainment (London, England, 44-207-554-2500): Having proven its mettle by bringing in solid revenues across Europe in a generally depressed DVD market, HIT Entertainment’s EMEA home entertainment team will now sink its teeth into driving sales in Asia/Japan. Leading the charge is newly promoted senior director Gavin Metcalfe, aided and abetted by his partner in crime, Luciana Bianchi, who was also just bumped up to licensing executive.
Jetix Europe (London, England, 44-208-222-3600): As programming SVP Marc Buhaj continues to round out his team, he has plucked another exec from his former employer’s ranks. Orion Ross joins Jetix Europe as VP of original content and creative, leaving behind a position as VP of creative and original content at Turner Broadcasting Asia-Pacific. Ross will spearhead the development of original series, the production of current series and branding across all platforms.
Joost (New York, New York, 212-331-1233): The web TV platform is getting serious about its programming strategy, as evidenced by its latest round of hiring. The company has put Danny Passman (global head of programming strategy) and John Schultz (director of programming strategy) in charge of masterminding and implementing content strategies to drive new viewers to its online airwaves. Both Passman and Schultz hail from the MTV group, Passman coming off a stint in series development at VH1 and Schultz leaving a production gig at MTV and MTV UK.
MGA Entertainment (Los Angeles, California, 818-894-2525): Holly Rawlinson has joined the house of Bratz as SVP of worldwide licensing. She previously served as VP of licensing and entertainment at Pokémon USA and orchestrated a successful brand revamp in 2006.
Nickelodeon Australia (Sydney, Australia, 61-2-9813-6200): Kirsty Bloore has been installed as the channel’s resident research director, formalizing a consulting relationship that dates back to 2000. Bloore is the author of A Day in the Life of an Aussie Kid, a series of reports that helps the net shape its programming strategy.
Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group (New York, New York, 212-846-8000): The division has hired Brian Offutt as SVP of creative operations, putting him squarely in charge of all operational, financial, technology and human resources processes for its creative resources and on-air departments. He is also charged with managing vendor relationships, outside partnerships and the delivery of creative services to key departments throughout the Kids and Family Group. Before joining Nick, Offutt served as COO of Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video Entertainment, where he oversaw day-to-day internal operations and drove strategic planning and new business development.
Penguin Young Readers Group (New York, New York, 212-414-3600): Lots of movement at the publishing house these days, with division president Doug Whiteman shifting into a broader role as EVP of business operations for Penguin Group USA. Taking his place is former Random House North American EVP and COO Don Weisberg, whose first order of business was to bring in Barbara Marcus as a strategic advisor. Marcus supervised the output of six Harry Potter books as president of children’s book publishing & distribution and EVP at Scholastic.
Scholastic (New York, New York, 212-343-6100): Debra Dorfman has joined the company as VP and publisher of paperbacks, Cartwheel and licensed publishing for the Scholastic Trade Publishing division. The move brings Dorfman full circle back to her roots; she spent 12 years at Scholastic earlier in her career, leaving in 2001 to join Penguin Young Readers Group as president and publisher of its Grosset & Dunlap/Price Stern Sloan unit. Dorfman’s new position is a brand-new one and will see her oversee the editorial direction of all original paperback, novelty and licensed book publishing for the unit.
Target Entertainment (London, England, 44-207-535-7200): Stepping back from the silo approach, Target has reinvented director of international licensing Helen Howells’ position to put her in charge of 360-degree brand planning. As global brand director, Howells will now work with departments including TV, film, licensing, DVD and marketing & communications to map out strategies for maximizing the company’s brands across all platforms and media.
On the TV sales team, Cecilie Olsen has been poached from Fox Sports International, where she focused on format and finished program sales. Olsen will make her market debut as Target’s new sales exec for Central and Eastern Europe at DISCOP this month.
Tribal Nova (Montreal, Canada, 514-598-5953): The busy webco has snagged Canadian kids industry veteran Louis Fournier to steer content acquisitions and co-pros for KidStudio, its online interactive entertainment platform for children. As VP of business development, Fournier is looking to partner with animation producers, broadcasters and other companies involved in the children’s entertainment industry. Fournier comes to Tribal Nova from Galakids, a division of Galafilms that he headed up as president.
Warner Bros. Consumer Products (Burbank, California, 818-954-7980): Shari Black has been promoted from VP to SVP of retail business development and will oversee WBCP’s retail sales, marketing, promotions and merchandising strategies. She will also be responsible for ID’ing growth opportunities across all key product categories and retailers. Black has been with WBCP since 2003, but before that, she put in some time as director of retail development for Disney Consumer Products and as an apparel marketing and merchandising manager for Wal-Mart.