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Who’s News—October 2018

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Universal Brand Development names Marisa Marti to the newly created role of VP Intl. Softlines for consumer products.

Nickelodeon appoints Susan Vargo as VP Global Live Entertainment. Based in London, Vargo will lead global creative development and production for stage shows, theme parks, resorts, and attractions in the U.S., Mexico (Riviera Maya), U.K., and Spain.

Mattel appoints board member Soren Laursen as its new (part-time) Executive Director. Laursen will accelerate key aspects of the toyco’s growth strategy across Europe such as business planning, product and market development, commercial execution, regional partnerships, and retail collaborations. Laursen continues to serve on Mattel’s board of directors, but not as a member of the governance and social responsibility committee.

LVMH appoints Sophie Brocart CEO of Jean Patou after the luxury conglomerate LVMH buys a majority holding in Jean Patou from Britain’s Designer Parfums Ltd. The French couture label will be revived through a relaunching of its ready-to-wear clothing collections. The label is best known for its “Joy” perfume.

Walmart promotes two senior executives in its American grocery and ecommerce operations: Kieran Shanahan is now SVP E-commerce Retail for everyday living and Tom Ward is now SVP Digital Operations.

Bob’s Discount Furniture has promoted John Weldon to COO and Carol Glaser to EVP Merchandising.

Lacoste brings British fashion designer Louise Trotter on as its new Creative Director.


Disney announces an executive reorganization in its Media Networks division ahead of its pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox, which will be finalized early next year. Current Fox President & Fox Networks Group CEO Peter Rice will become Chairman of Walt Disney Television & Co-chair of Disney Media Networks. And Fox Television Group CEO & Chairman Dana Walden will assume the Chairman’s role for Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment. Disney Media Networks Co-chair & Disney|ABC Television Group President Ben Sherwood will remain in his current role during the transition period, but will exit the company once the acquisition is complete.

Under Rice, who now reports directly to Disney Chairman & CEO Robert Iger, Disney Media Networks will include Disney Channels, ABC Television Network, Twentieth Century Fox Television, ABC Studios, ABC Owned Television Stations Group, Freeform, FX Networks and FX Productions, Fox 21 Television Studios, and the National Geographic channels.

Reporting to Rice, Walden’s new remit includes Twentieth Century Fox Television, Fox 21 Television Studios, ABC Entertainment, ABC Studios, Freeform, and ABC Owned Television Stations Group.

Schleich expands its U.S. sales and marketing team; the German toyco names Oliver Krause-Huckleberry as Head Marketing, Jerry Kurtzweil as Director Sales, Jeanie Crone as Senior Manager Specialty, Alinka Griffin and Holly Keebler as National Account Managers, Chris Swalm as Marketing Communications Manager, and Angela Amos as Trade Marketing Manager.

Mattel appoints Frederic Soulie as SVP Content Distribution & Business Gevelopment for its new global franchise management group. He will oversee the toyco’s programming sales around the world and across all platforms.

Licensing veteran Fred Gaffney will be inducted into the LIMA Australia Hall of Fame on Nov. 1.

Bryncoed Productions hires Jonathan Wolfman as its first Head Young Adult (YA) Development.

Coolabi Group selects Allison Watkins as its new Director Consumer Products & TV Distribution.

Jenna Lyons, the former Executive Creative Director of J. Crew who resigned in April 2017, tells WWD that she has formed a partnership with Turner Entertainment to build an omnichannel lifestyle brand. Launching 2019, the brand marries content and commerce in a weekly unscripted lifestyle series and a daily curated social and direct-to-consumer platform.

Nebraska Furniture Mart appoints Nora Gomez to Chief Merchandising Officer.


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