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Who’s News—3/26/2018

Are you hiring—or being promoted, changing jobs, retiring, launching a new company, or otherwise changing your employment? Email Jen at and we’ll announce the news in our next issue of Who’s News.

Genius Brands appoints Cindy Elfenbein to the newly formed position of VP Global Consumer Products & Retail Development, reporting to SVP Global Consumer Products, Lloyd Mintz. Elfenbein will work with retailers and licensees to build comprehensive global consumer product programs and retail initiatives for each of the company’s brands—specifically, Rainbow Rangers (premiering in fall 2018 on Nick Jr), Llama Llama (currently available on Netflix), and the relaunch of Baby Genius, as well as Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab and Secret Millionaires Club.

Separately, Michael Jaffa joins Genius Brands’ General Counsel as SVP Business Affairs. Jaffa will oversee the negotiating and shaping of business transactions in the areas of development, production, licensing, finance, and distribution of its content catalog. Jaffa previously served as Head Business Affairs at DreamWorks Animation Television.

Asmodee Group taps Andy Jones to run its new division, Asmodee Entertainment. Jones is joined by Darren Kyman, who is hired as SVP Business Development.

LIMA France will be led by Laurent Taieb as Chairman. Taieb is supported by vice chairs Marina Narishkin, Director of TF1 Licences; Marie-Laure Marchand, SVP Global Consumer Products at Xilam; and Jerome Le Grand, General Manager Licensing, Retail & E-commerce at The Walt Disney Company France. Valérie Rolandez-Barrios, Director Licences & Partnerships at StudioCanal, will serve as treasurer. Over 25 companies have joined LIMA France to date.

Posh Paws Managing Director David Martin departs effective immediately. Owner Phil Setter confirms that his role will be covered by the existing management team until a replacement is named.

Mel Caylo joins Valiant Entertainment as Director Marketing. Carlo replaces Hunter Gorinson to work with the executive, sales, and editorial teams to plan, execute, and oversee all aspects of public relations and marketing. Karl Bollers is also hired as Editor.

FremantleMedia North America CEO Cecile Frot-Coutaz leaves the company. She will join YouTube to lead EMEA operations. Frot-Coutaz reportedly has a 12-month notice clause, and Fremantle owner RTL Group is searching for a successor.

Patty Hirsch is named SVP & General Manager of Warner Bros. Digital Labs, the technology team that powers WB’s portfolio of digital content services including Machinima, Ellen DeGeneres’ Ellen Digital Ventures, and DramaFever (which she personally oversees as CEO). The service is expected to launch a DC Entertainment-branded platform later this year. Previously, Hirsch had been SVP Digital for Time Inc. and GM of their Sports Group.

The Kids & Global Networks division of Blue Ant Media hires Chiara McKee as VP EMEA. McKee will lead channel distribution sales, operations, and marketing efforts in the region for Love Nature 4K, Love Nature HD, and ZooMoo (HD), as well as Blue Ant’s animated and live-action YouTube gaming channel, Arcade Cloud. Based in London, she reports directly to Kids & Global Networks CEO Ward Platt.

After buying French luxury brand Lanvin last month, Chinese conglomerate Fosun Intl. ousts Creative Director Olivier Lapidus and General Manager Nicolas Druz. Joann Cheng, President of Fosun Fashion Group and chairman of the board of directors of Lanvin, is temporarily appointed CEO. Druz takes up the new position of Managing Director of Fosun Fashion Group, where he will support the group’s business expansion in Europe.

Ken Wright is appointed to the newly-created position of President & Publisher of Viking Children’s Books and Philomel Books following the departure of Michael Green earlier this month.

Simon Belsham is named President of, reporting to Marc Lore, President & CEO of Walmart E-commerce U.S. Current Jet leaders Andrew Gasper (General Manager), David Echegoyen (Chief Customer Officer), Jack Hanlon (customer analytics and insights), Jeff Saunders (head Jet Tech) will continue in their current roles.

Emily Clement is promoted to Executive Editor for Harry Potter Wizarding World & Special Projects, from rights and co-editions manager, at Scholastic.

Activision Blizzard fills out its esports management team, adding Brandon Snow as Chief Revenue Officer (former NBA SVP Team Marketing & Business Operations); Daniel Cherry as CMO (NJ Devils, Prudential Center CMO & Chief Innovation Officer); and Marc Kolin as VP/Finance & Strategy (NBCU VP Revenue Analytics & Strategy).

Lowe’s seeks a new CEO as current Chairman, President & CEO Robert Niblock plans to retire after 25 years. Niblick will continue to serve until a successor is found.

France’s Cyber Group Studios appoints Loic de Boudemange as its new VP Digital Development & Operations.

Toys “R” Us founder Charles Lazarus dies at 94.


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