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Boat Rocker Hires New Director of Licensing

Boat Rocker Media has appointed Denise Gomez to the newly created role of director of licensing for its Boat Rocker Studios division in the Americas. Gomez formerly worked with WarnerMedia, where she spent 14 years at  Cartoon Network in a variety of roles, most recently as senior director of licensing. In her new position with Boat Rocker, Gomez will manage licensing & promotions across all genres with a heavy focus on its kids and family brands in the US, Canada, and Latin America. The move comes as Boat Rocker’s new Dino Ranch program is headed to Disney Junior and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) this month, and has recently signed toy and publishing deals with Jazwares and Scholastic, respectively. Other titles Gomez will be focusing on include Kingdom Force, Remy and… . . . read more

WarnerMedia Shuffles Roles in Co-Pro and Acquisitions

British kid’s programming publication Kidscreen  has confirmed that VP of kids programming and content strategy Cecilia Persson has left WarnerMedia EMEA, and Zia Bales (pictured) has been promoted. Prior to her departure last month, Persson managed and led programming strategy across EMEA for kids linear and digital platforms including Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Cartoonito and Boing. Persson also supervised and negotiated shared acquisitions internationally for those same channels, as well as Toonix and the children’s programming areas of HBO Europe. WarnerMedia declined to comment on its replacement plan for Persson’s role, but Kidscreen reports that co-productions have been added to Bales’ new duties as the newly promoted senior manager of acquisitions and co-productions. Bales left an acquisitions coordinator position at Disney Channels EMEA to join Turner in 2013 as an acquisitions manager, and she has… . . . read more

JazWares Appoints Laura Zebersky as President

Toy Company Also Announces Promotions for Kelly Deen, Gerhard Runken, and Jonny Taylor  Jazwares, one of the world’s leading toy companies, this week announced the promotion of Laura Zebersky to the position of president. The company says Zebersky, a 15-year veteran of the toy industry, and a recipient of the Women in Toys ‘Wonder Women’ Award, “helped catapult Jazwares’ growth by driving global licensing, marketing, retail expansion and exponential sales.” Zebersky most recently held the title of chief commercial officer, where she oversaw Jazwares’ global licensing, marketing, and sales efforts. Judd Zebersky will remain as chief executive officer, and they will continue to drive forward the success of the company together. “Laura is the most amazing business and life partner anyone could ask for,” Judd Zebersky, CEO, Jazwares, said. “Her understanding… . . . read more

The Licensing Shop Celebrates 15th Anniversary

Congratulations to The Licensing Shop, an agency founded by husband-and-wife team Steve and Nancy Fowler in 2006, which is now marking its 15th anniversary. Previously, Steve was the President of video game developer 3D0 Europe based in the U.K. and California, and Nancy was the Vice President of Worldwide Licensing for Viacom Consumer Products and President of DIC Entertainment’s Consumer Products division based in Los Angeles. “We set out to become a ‘boutique’ agency meaning we didn’t want to grow so big that our clients weren’t working with us directly and daily,” said Steve Fowler. “So we really have to pick and choose the brands we worked on carefully.” TLS has worked with iconic brands such as Pokémon, Shopkins, Star Trek, Skechers and Sesame Street. In 2016, TLS won a… . . . read more

Ector Hired to Lead Downtown’s Licensing Work

As the acquisitions of music catalogs has soared, Downtown Music Holdings has hired Dewayne Ector as its Chief Revenue Officer, a newly created position, to oversee digital licensing. In his new role, Ector will be responsible for overseeing the successful negotiation and maximization of revenue from digital licenses covering all rights types represented across Downtown’s business units. Ector’s appointment follows a successful tenure leading partner relations and income tracking for Downtown-owned subsidiary SongTrust, a leading technology solution for global music publishing royalty collection and administration. “Establishing a group-wide strategy for digital licensing with DSPs and other pay sources has long been part of Downtown’s plan to support our continued growth and efforts to scale our business globally,” said Downtown CEO Justin Kalifowitz. “Dewayne’s knowledge and command of the complicated global royalties… . . . read more

Key Exec Ricky Strauss Leaves Disney

Deadline reports that Ricky Strauss, one of the key executives who launched Disney+ and former head of marketing for Walt Disney Studios, is leaving the company after nine years. The announcement was made internally through a memo obtained by Deadline, and Strauss also reportedly shared the news with his staff. The decision to leave comes as Disney has launched a full-scale overhaul of the entire corporation, in which Strauss was moved to a new role as President of Programming & Content Curation for Disney+ and Hulu. Strauss previously served as President of Content & Marketing, where he was in charge of developing the overall strategic vision for content at Disney+. He also oversaw development of Disney+’s programming decisions, production partnerships, and content acquisitions. Strauss joined the streaming division in 2018, before the… . . . read more

Fashion Licensing Pioneer Ruth McCarthy Manton Dies at 95

Ruth McCarthy Manton, a pioneer in the business of fashion licensing, passed away at her home on Christmas Eve. Manton was also among the first female fashion journalists in the industry, but it was her innovative work after founding Aries Design Management that made her a force to be reckoned with in the licensing business. Manton’s idea was to link up top designers directly with manufacturers to create wide ranges of products, and to use media and aggressive marketing to get those products in front of the public’s eye. Early in her new career Manton concluded that reaching the mass market in America would require partnerships with celebrities, particularly those from TV shows and movies. Her close friend, the film producer David Gil, suggested Manton start by partnering with Jaclyn… . . . read more

Troubled JC Penney Searching For New CEO

JCPenney has survived the ups and downs of the economy for 118 years … but whether it will survive much longer is open to question. The company now hopes new blood in the CEO suite will help JCPenney turn around a dire situation that saw the department store chain file for bankruptcy in May, after losing money for 10 straight years. CEO Jill Soltau, who took on the position just two years ago, left the company on New Year’s Eve and the company has announced it is actively searching for her replacement. The new owners of the company—Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management—appointed Simons’ Chief Investment Officer Stanley Shashoua as JCPenney’s interim CEO, who will be backed by current members of the company’s C-level executive team. In a press… . . . read more

Who’s News: Big Moves at Henson, Sony, iHeart Media

Sony/ATV Music Publishing Selects New President for Global Digital Sony looked internally to fill the position of President, Global Digital, promoting Antony Bebawi to the position, reporting directly to Sony/ATV Chairman and CEO Jon Platt. Throughout his career at Sony/ATV, Antony has spearheaded pivotal digital initiatives and led the negotiation of key deals with the major digital services. Working closely with Sony/ATV’s global administration team and collection society partners, he also has been focused on industry data challenges and the streamlining of digital royalty processing to improve accuracy and transparency as streaming continues to evolve. “As a leader in the digital music space, Antony has been pivotal in strengthening the presence of our songwriters and their music on a global scale,” said Platt. “I’m proud to promote Antony to this… . . . read more

Founders Transition to New Leadership at Spin Master

Max Rangel Joins Spin Master as Co-Founders Ronnen Harary and Anton Rabie Transition Their Roles in Spring 2021 Spin Master has been led by its co-founders since the company’s inception, but next month the company will have its first ‘outside’ CEO in Max Rangel, formerly of SC Johnson & Sons. Spin Master is a major force in the toy and children’s entertainment world, and just this week finalized a key deal with Riot Games for their League of Legends franchise. But founders Ronnen Harary and Anton Rabie felt it was time to transition to new leadership, so Rangel will assume the position of global president effective in January, and will also adopt the role of CEO in April. Rangel will now be responsible for the execution of Spin Master’s long-term strategy,… . . . read more