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Who’s News—November 2018

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Rovio appoints Alexandre Pelletier-Normand as EVP of its Entertainment’s Games Business Unit and a member of leadership team, beginning Jan. 2, 2019. He will be responsible for Rovio’s game studios and game development and reports directly to CEO Kati Levoranta.

Debra Restler is promoted to SVP Business Development & Marketing at Beanstalk. In her new role, Restler will continue to lead the development of Beanstalk’s global client roster and corporate marketing strategy as well as work on agency growth initiatives.

Viacom simplifies its structure for Viacom Media Networks:

  • Comedy Central head Kent Alterman adds Paramount Network and TV Land to his responsibilities;
  • Chris McCarthy expands his current role of President of MTV, VH1 and Logo to now include CMT;
  • Kevin Kay, formerly President of Paramount Network, TV Land, and CMT, will leave company after helping with the transition.

BET Networks and Nickelodeon remain as is. Separately, Shauna Phelan joins Nick as SVP Scripted Live Action.

Centric Brands (form. Differential Brands Group) appoints Anurup Pruthi as its new CFO and adds Glenn Krevlin to its board of directors. Pruthi reports to CEO Jason Rabin and will help grow the lifestyle brands collective’s core expertise in women’s, men’s, and kids’ apparel and accessories.

Snap adds Jeremi Gorman as Chief Business Officer and Jared Grusd as Chief Strategy Officer. Additionally, Jean Gonié is now Director EU Policy and Alston Cheek is Director Platform Partnerships.

Armando Nuñez is named President & CEO for the CBS Global Distribution group as well as Chief Content Licensing Officer for CBS Corporation. Nuñez will continue as head of CBS Studios Intl. and will re-assume leadership of CBS Television Distribution.

Scott Koondel, previously CBS Chief Content Licensing Officer, is launching an independent production and distribution venture that would be housed at CBS. Earlier this month, President of CBS Television Distribution Paul Franklin announced his retirement.

VF Corp. appoints Jan Van Leeuwen as VP & GM The North Face EMEA. He will also serve on the global leadership team for The North Face brand.

Valiant promotes Julia Walchuk to Sales & Live Events Manager.

New Balance Athletics President & CEO Rob DeMartini will step down effective Dec. 31st; Joe Preston will assume his role.

ZAG names Ian Lambur as its SVP Global Distribution & Co-productions. Lambur joins from The Jim Henson Co.

Ralph Rivera is appointed Managing Director NBA Europe & Middle East where he will oversee the NBA’s basketball and business development in the region.

Sports agency Independent Sports & Entertainment launches a new property sales group and hires Jake Stone as VP Property Sales to lead the new venture. It will initially focus on securing global partnerships and sponsorships as well as naming rights for sports leagues, teams, venues and events.

Retired Walmart exec Michael Fung succeeds Jerry Murray as Interim CFO of JCPenney. Murray resumes his role as SVP Finance.

ESPN executive Russell Wolff takes the reins as EVP/GM of ESPN+, where he’ll oversee Disney’s direct-to-consumer sports streaming service and collaborate on managing and commercializing ESPN-branded digital products.

Heather Moosnick, YouTube TV’s Head Global Business Development, Strategy & Content Partner Management, accepts a position as SVP Content Partnerships at Hulu.

Formerly at Everlast, Adam Geisler is now CEO of Super Soccer Stars.

Laura Ferguson, formerly at Time Inc., joins Open Road Integrated Media as SVP Business Development.

Cherokee Global Brands appoints Evan Hengel to its board of directors.

The English Premier League hires Susanna Dinnage from Discovery Communications as the soccer league’s first new CEO in two decades.

Intl. Market Centers has a new executive leadership team following its recently concluded merger with AmericasMart. The integrated leadership team includes Greg Avitabile, EVP Operations; Dorothy Belshaw, EVP, CMO & Chief Digital Officer; Scott Eckman, EVP & President Furniture/Home Décor Leasing; Bill Lacey, EVP & CFO; JoAnn Miller Marshall, EVP & President Tradeshow Leasing; Carrie Messina, SVP & Human Resources; and Dave Savula, EVP & President Gift/Apparel Leasing.

Des Esposito joins Paramount Pictures as EVP Creative Advertising.

The Crown League names Jeff Kaiser as Chief Content Officer, Tim Ettus as CMO, and Casey Jacobs as VP Business Development.

Macy’s Chief Merchandising Officer Jeffrey Kantor plans to retire after 36 years with Macy’s and its predecessor companies. He will step down next year effective Apr. 16th. The position has not been filled.

David Loechner resigns as President & CEO and as a member of the board of Emerald Expositions Events. CFO Philip Evans is appointed as an Interim President & CEO as the board commences an executive search. Loechner will stay on through the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition.

The head of Victoria’s Secret, Jan Singer, leaves L Brands after two years in the role. In August, the company announced the retirement of Denise Landman, CEO of its Pink brand. Her replacement is Amy Hauk, formerly of Bath & Body Works.

Mark Frissora will step down as CEO of Caesars Entertainment next year.

The NHL’s fourth president, John A. Ziegler Jr., passed away at the age of 84.

Marvel legend Stan Lee died at the age of 95.


Elise Contarsy is named SVP Bonnier Consumer Products. Based in Bonnier Corp.’s NY office, Contarsy reports to CEO Eric Zinczenko. She continues to serve on the Board of the Licensing Industry Merchandising Association (LIMA) and is a consultant to the Private Label Manufacturers Association.

Abrams Artists Agency hires two agents to build out its alternative programming, digital media, licensing, and branding division. Maxwell Mitcheson is based in Los Angeles and Henry Gordon in New York; both report to the division’s SVP, Alec Shankman.

Pentland Brands Ltd. appoints Katrina Nurse as its new CFO. The company owns Speedo, Berghaus, Canterbury of New Zealand, Endura, Boxfresh, Ellesse, and Mitre; it also licenses Ted Baker and Karen Millen footwear globally, Kickers in the U.K., and has a joint venture partnership for Lacoste footwear.

Michael Lunsford joins Funko’s Board of Directors.

Viacom names former Lego exec Lars Silberbauer its new SVP MTV Digital Studios.

Activision Blizzard adds veteran NFL executive Johanna Faries to the company’s Esports Leagues leadership team, where she will serve as Head Product for the Call of Duty World League.

Valiant Entertainment hires Oliver Taylor as Intl. Licensing Coordinator following a stint as a Sales Intern.

Michelle Mosier joins Hamilton Beach Brands Holding Co. this month and will assume the roles of VP, CFO & Treasurer effective Jan. 1, 2019. She replaces James Taylor, who is retiring after 35 years.

Timberland appoints Christopher Raeburn to serve as Global Creative Director for the brand.

PlayFusion is growing its North American team: Jason Brenner is promoted to VP Sales & Marketing North America, Richard Dracass will be North American Retail Manager, Steve DeVries is joining the company as North American Marketing Manager, and Tayson Turner has been hired as North American Organized Play Coordinator. The company is behind multi-media trading card games Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions and Lightseekers. adds to its retail leadership team: Catherine Borda is appointed to the newly created position of Chief Customer Officer, Chris Donnelly is Chief of Staff to the President, and former Co-President Dave Nielsen returns in the role of Chief Sourcing & Operations Officer.

James “JC” Curleigh is appointed CEO of guitar company Gibson Brands.

Wanda Ferragamo, who built her husband’s small Italian shoe business—Salvatore Ferragamo—into a global luxury brand, has died at age 96.

Corus Entertainment EVP & COO Barb Williams is retiring from the Canadian broadcaster.

Pixar Co-founder and the President of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios Ed Catmull plans to retire next year. He will step down from his position at the end of the year and continue on in an advisory capacity through July 2019. Pixar President Jim Moss and Walt Disney Animation Studios president Andrew Millstein will oversee the operation of their respective studios, reporting in to Walt Disney Studios president Alan Bergman. Both studios will continue to be led creatively by Chief Creative Officers Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee, who moved into their respective roles after longtime Pixar chief John Lasseter stepped down in June due to misconduct allegations. Lasseter took a six-month sabbatical last November, citing unspecified “missteps”. He then segued into a consulting role at the company that will end on Dec. 31, 2018.

Refinery29 lays off 10% of its workforce, or 40 employees, because of missed revenue projections in a move that will impact its product, engineering, and video teams. The digital media empire reassured remaining employees that its direct-to-consumer business—including 29Rooms, an immersive art exhibition of sorts—was up 300%.


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