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Who’s News: October 2019

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September 23, 2019 Update

Sona Chawla steps down as President of Kohl’s Corp; following her departure, Kohl’s launches comprehensive search for a COO. Separately, Paul Gaffney is named SVP & Chief Technology Officer.

Amy Sullivan joinds Cloudco VP Global Retail Development. She joins as the prodco simultaneously launches in consumer products for three brands: Care Bears: Unlock the Magic, airng in the U.S. on Boomerang and in the UK on Tiny Pop; Holly Hobbie, a live-action, music-driven Hulu Original series; and Tinpo, a Cbeebies-commissioned CGI vehicle and construction show rolling out globally.

Herschend Entertainment Studios hires Natalie Setton as VP Commercial, Content Distribution & Licensing and Julie Phillips as VP Development & Production. Setton will lead all sales, licensing, marketing, retail support, live events, and location-based entertainment for HES properties, while Phillips pulls double-duty as an executive producer for Chuggington. The prodco plans to relaunch its children’s brand Chuggington in 2020; the property has generated close to $1 billion at retail globally.

Anne Bradford is now Director of Poetic Brands, charged with building a childrenswear, babywear and accessories division.

Age of Learning promotes former Disney exec Paul Candland to CEO. CEO and founder Doug Dohring is now leading the company’s board of directors as executive chairman.

Fanatics appoints Nike exec Michener Chandlee as CFO.

Spectrum Brands hires Jeremy Smeltser as EVP & CFO to replace Doug Martin, who is staying on through the end of the year.

Informa Markets promotes Anna Knight to VP Global Licensing Group, following two months operating as interim managing director for the division.

Simon Spalding is elevated to Executive Chair at tabletop games developer and retailer Steamforged Games.

Linda Simensky is promoted to the new role of Head PBS Kids Content. In her new role, she will lead the development of a multi-platform video content strategy including new, experimental approaches for emerging platforms.

Tilly’s Chief Merchandising Officer Debbie Anker-Morris is set to resign.

September 9, 2019 Update

Sarah Kirshbaum Levy joins the Funko board of directors. Levy has served as Viacom Media Networks’ COO since 2016.

CEO Victor Luis exits Tapestry not three weeks after the luxury fashion group trimmed its guidance for the year. Chairman of the board Jide Zeitlin takes over the CEO post. In a statement, Zeitlin notes that the company will bring in “new leaders who bring fresh perspectives” to grow its Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman brands.

German company Toon2Tango GmbH & Co. KG., the new kids and family entertainment venture founded by Hans Ulrich (Ulli) Stoef, appoints Jo Daris as Chief Creative Officer.

The American Apparel and Footwear Association announces that Rick Helfenbein will step down as President & CEO on Dec. 31st. Stephen Lamar, EVP, will take over the top post in the new year.

Neiman Marcus names Lana Todorovich as its new President & Chief Merchandising Officer, succeeding Jim Gold. Separately, CFO Adam Orvos  will leave the retailer in October.

DK appoints a new publishing director for its licensing division in the shape of Mark Searle, replacing Simon Beecroft and reporting directly to MD Publishing Rebecca Smart.

September 3, 2019

It’s finally happening: the merger between CBS and Viacom will be given final form in a roughly $27 billion company named ViacomCBS. Bob Bakish will become President & CEO of the combined entity, while former CBS head Joe Ianniello will become Chairman and CEO of CBS, overseeing all CBS-branded assets. The two media giants have made their way back together again after being separated in 2006 by owner Sumner Redstone. In the intervening years, subsequent attempts to combine the companies were foiled by squabbling boards and the scandal of former CBS chief Leslie Moonves, ousted last year amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. With 80% ownership of both companies, Shari Redstone sealed the deal. Assets of the new company include broadcaster CBS; premium cable service Showtime; basic cable stalwarts such as Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET, and MTV; subscription VOD service CBS All Access; ad-supported VOD service Pluto.TV; movie studio Paramount; and publisher Simon & Schuster, among numerous other holdings.

In unexpected merger news, Hasbro agrees to aquire eOne in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $4.0 billion (£3.3 billion). The final roster of people at the combined entity has not been announced, although CEO Darren Throop is expected to stay on with several other top eOne execs.

Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products (VNCP) promotes David Chustz to EVP Global Creative, from his previous role as SVP Franchise Creative Strategy & Planning for Nickelodeon. Chustz will continue to report into Pam Kaufman, President of VNCP, from the company’s California headquarters.

ABG opens its Mexico City headquarters. Monica Nahúm, VP Business Development, will lead the charge in driving ABG’s momentum across Mexico, Central and South America.

The President of Corus-owned kids company Nelvana, Scott Dyer, is retiring. Pam Westman steps up to take his place, effective Aug. 30. Dyer will remain on as a consultant for one year to help the transition.

DHX Media appoints Eric Ellenbogen its new CEO and vice chair of the board of directors, succeeding Michael Donovan, who has stepped down as CEO. Donovan will continue to serve on the board as founding chair. Donald Wright is appointed as non-executive chair.

Brand Central promotes Lexi DeForest to Licensing Director, reporting directly to CEO Ross Misher. In her expanded role, she will become part of the senior management team of the agency playing a vital role in business development, client acquisition and managing many of the agency’s top clients.

Le Tote takes over Lord & Taylor. The two retailers have reached a $75 million agreement that will give Le Tote a physical foothold at 38 Lord & Taylor stores and Lord & Taylor a digital overhaul.

Licensing International hires Maria Ungaro as VP Member Engagement.


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