London-based children’s publisher Walker Books has hired ex-Fremantle and BBC Worldwide senior exec Pindy O’Brien to the newly created role of licensing and retail development director for key franchises in the UK and Europe.
The appointment is a result of the publisher streamlining its licensing operations by combining its licensing and merchandising unit with its UK sales and marketing division, led by Ed Ripley.
In her new role, O’Brien will be tasked with growing revenue for Walker Group’s portfolio, which includes children’s franchises Maisy, Guess How Much I Love You, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, Tilly and Friends, Where’s Wally? and Judy Moody. She will work closely with the publisher’s books, sales and marketing teams, as well as manage relationships with producers, authors and retailers. O’Brien will report to Ripley on a daily basis, with a joint overall report to MD Karen Lotz and CFO Mike McGrath.
Excluding the UK and Europe, sales will be shared and handled with Walker’s North American licensing team based at Candlewick Press in Somerville, Massachusetts.
O’Brien has worked with Walker Books since 2016 as a part-time consultant. She has also consulted for London’s Raydar Media (Fifi and the Flowertots), where she managed kids licensing and helped sell the company’s kids content to international broadcasters.
O’Brien previously served 11 years as VP of brand licensing and retail at FremantleMedia working with IPs such as Tree Fu Tom and Strange Hill High. Prior to that she held a product marketing manager position at BBC Worldwide where she supported the UK launches for brands including Teletubbies, Tweenies, Fimbles and Bob The Builder.
O’Brien’s new appointment follows the resignation of Walker Books Group EVP and commercial director Julia Posen last August.