WildBrain taps Deirdre Brennan as EVP

The former Corus and Universal Kids exec has been named EVP of content partnerships, alongside a new chief brands officer and MD in China.
February 6, 2020

WildBrain CEO Eric Ellenbogen is adding heavyweight firepower to his senior team, with  four executive appointments, including former Corus kids content VP Deirdre Brennan (pictured) and veteran kid-con exec Michael Riley, the company announced.

The additions are geared towards identifying franchise opportunities within its existing IP portfolio, creating new franchises, strengthening its processes within the content and distribution teams, and unlocking potential in China.

Brennan, who has worked with WildBrain in an advisory capacity since July, has been appointed to the role of EVP, content partnerships. In the Toronto-based role, Brennan, a former exec at Corus, Universal Kids, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and Australia’s ABC TV, will lead both WildBrain’s global distribution business and its suite of family-branded broadcast channels in Canada. She’ll report to president Josh Scherba.

Meanwhile Riley, WildBrain’s newly appointed chief brands officer, will be tasked with identifying and developing key franchise opportunities for the company’s portfolio of kids and family brands. The former Hasbro, Mattel and Sony exec will be based in New York and report to Ellenbogen.

WildBrain is also expanding its focus on the Chinese market, appointing Jianbo Wei to the position of managing director, China. In a statement, WildBrain said Wei will be tasked with “building an expanded business strategy to exploit the considerable opportunity in China” for WildBrain’s content and its consumer products business. Wei, who previously served as Disney’s director of government relations for its Shanghai Disney Resort, will be based in Shanghai and report in to Scherba.

WildBrain has tapped Daisy Wall as VP, short form content. In the LA-based role, Wall will develop and execute strategies to expand the company’s short-form slate. She will work with the WildBrain Spark team (the company’s AVOD business unit) and with the creative teams at WildBrain Studios, and report to EVP of content and current series Stephanie Betts.

Liz Thompson was also promoted to the role of VP, marketing and communications, a Toronto-based role in which she will oversee WildBrain’s brand positioning, and marketing and communications strategies.

Elsewhere, Joe Tedesco has been named chair of WildBrain Television. WildBrain also noted that Betts and Amir Nasrabadi (EVP and GM of the Vancouver Studio) will continue in their respective roles reporting to Josh Scherba.

The past two and a half years has seen WildBrain (formerly DHX Media) completely reshape its business and senior management team following a strategic review that began in October 2017. The review saw a number of executive departures – including Dana Landry and Steven DeNure – with WildBrain shifting its content strategy and consolidating a number of its business units after emerging from the review.

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