Executive changes are afoot at DHX Media, Toronto-based parent company of Decode Entertainment, Halifax Film and Studio B Productions.
After 12 years, Decode Entertainment co-founder Neil Court is stepping down from his day-to-day duties as president of distribution arm Decode Enterprises in May, while his original partner Steven DeNure takes on the newly created position of president and COO of DHX Media.
In his new role, DeNure assumes operating responsibility for DHX’s three kids-focused production units and Decode Enterprises. Current VP of distribution Josh Scherba will now report directly to DeNure. Additionally, Charles Bishop, the sitting president of Halifax Film, has been bumped up to president of production and development for DHX and will report to its chairman and CEO, Michael Donovan. The creation and distribution of comedy, drama and factual entertainment within DHX is now Bishop’s chief remit and he’ll also continue managing content production at Halifax Film.
Court, however, isn’t walking away completely. He’s retaining his substantial shares in DHX and will serve as an advisor and on the board of directors. As for what he’ll be doing after his contract with the company expires on May 19, Court says he’s going to take the summer to reflect on what his next move should be. ‘I’ve been doing this for a long time, close to 22 years,’ he says. ‘I felt it was time to do something else,’ he adds, stressing that the decision to leave was prompted by his own desires and nothing more.
The Croisette also hasn’t seen the last of Court as he’ll be attending MIPTV at the end of the month, and possibly MIPCOM, on behalf of Decode and he promises he’ll remain actively involved with the company as an advisor. ‘When you own a piece of the business,’ he notes, ‘you’re never really out of it.’ And DeNure confirms that the pair’s longstanding tradition of morning catch-up calls will continue.
For his part, DeNure says his largely expanded role was created from operational need. Three years after Decode and Halifax joined forces and began trading publicly as DHX Media, the company still did not have a president or COO to coordinate finances and back-end functions that make for a more efficient entity. To that end, DeNure will be working on centralizing finance structures and consolidating rights management, licensing & merchandising and interactive activities at DHX.
‘In terms of the front end,’ says DeNure, ‘there won’t be a noticeable change. Halifax Film, Studio B and Decode are great at producing kids programming and we’re aiming to preserve each company’s individual creative cultures.’