By Gary Symons
TLL Editor in Chief
Warner Bros. Discovery has unveiled a seismic shift in the management of its massive consumer products business.
Warner, as one of the world’s largest and most successful studios, runs CP operations globally, and this week announced changes to reflect that reality.
Among the major changes, Warner announced:
- Canada and the U.S. are now integrated into a new North American leadership team
- Major international regions will now be managed together under a single management team
- WBD has formed a new Global E-commerce Unit
- Other changes have been made to “bring the strengths of legacy Warner Bros. and Discovery commercial businesses together as one.”
These changes all involve the subsidiary Global Brands and Experiences (GBE), the division of Warner Bros. Discovery that encompasses the Global Consumer Products and Themed Entertainment businesses, as well as the company’s Franchise Development and Brand management. That latter group manages ‘evergreen’ brands like DC and Harry Potter, for example.
To manage these changes, GBE announced a new global leadership team for its Consumer Products business, formalizing the integration between two legacy divisions, those being Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Discovery Consumer Products.
Warner merged with Discovery in May 2021. (See story below for more detail)
Pam Lifford, the president of Warner Bros. Discovery Global Brands, Franchises, and Experiences says the newly combined global consumer products division will extend the company’s portfolio of brands and franchises from Warner Bros.’ film, television, animation, and games studios, HBO, Discovery, DC, Cartoon Network, HGTV, Eurosport, Adult Swim, and more into the lives of fans around the world and will complement GBE’s Franchise Development efforts to maximize long- term consumer engagement with the company’s major franchises.
“This team of best-in-class leaders brings years of experience in their respective areas and the realignment will result in a strong focus on our key growth areas, will further maximize our global relationships, streamline communication with global partners operating, and most importantly – bring brand new, integrated, and dynamic ways to engage fans around the world with our characters and stories,” Lifford said.
The new team, which reports to Lifford, includes:
- Julian Moon: Head of EMEA Consumer Products will also be Head of APAC Consumer Products. Based in London, Moon is a Warner Bros. veteran with extensive experience maximizing the potential of key brands and franchises to create best-in-class products and programs with licensees, retailers, and partners.
- Robert Oberschelp will now head North America Consumer Products. An industry veteran with deep expertise across licensing, brand, and product development, Oberschelp will also continue to oversee Global Brand Product, Franchise Management and Marketing. His newly combined team now supports all of North America, including a retail-facing category team consisting of:
- Carolann Dunn, a veteran of legacy Discovery Consumer Products, will now lead a new category role for the region overseeing Home, Food, Health and Beauty.
- Jessica Elliot will take on a new role leading the Fashion, Footwear, and Accessories category broadening her previous role in brand product.
- Catherine Bachmaier will continue to lead Toys and Licensed Publishing.
- Preston Lewis will continue as Head of LATAM Consumer Products and will also lead retail strategy and major retailer relationships for all of The Americas, partnering with Oberschelp in North America. During his Warner Bros. career, Lewis has held leadership positions in multiple regions and previously oversaw WBCP’s retail business development team.
- Samantha Bushy will transition full-time as Head of Global E-commerce, bringing her substantial digital expertise to further build out the robust direct-to-consumer e- Commerce experience worldwide. The renewed focus on digital consumer sales will complement the Company’s best-in-class retail partners with even more ways to engage customers of Warner Bros. Discovery’s iconic properties. Bushy joined the Company in 2021 from Apple, where she was Head of E-commerce, Global Marketplaces, WW Digital Channel.Peter van Roden will continue to lead Global Themed Entertainment, a worldwide leader in the creation, development, and licensing of location-based entertainment, live events, exhibits, and theme park experiences based on the biggest franchises, stories and characters from Warner Bros.’ film, television, animation, and games studios, HBO, Discovery, DC, Cartoon Network and more. The legacy-Discovery experiences group will now be part of this group.
While the announcement was made on December 12, all the changes were made effective December 1.