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Who’s News: Kerry Phelan Promoted to Chief Brand Officer at Genius Brands

By Gary Symons

TLL Editor in Chief

Kerry Phelan continues her meteoric rise within Genius Brands, being named Chief Brand Officer of the growing company this week.

The appointment follows Genius Brands’ acquisitions of Canada’s WOW! Unlimited Media, Inc. (WOW!) and Ameba TV, and a major investment in Germany’s Your Family Entertainment (YFE).

Genius Brands says it promoted Phelan to help build out a global footprint and with the worldwide rollout of Kartoon Channel.

“It’s a tremendous privilege for us to have an executive of Kerry’s caliber, with her successful track record of launching some of the most successful brands in entertainment history, from Star Wars to Cars, leading the charge as we continue to launch new IP into the market and rollout existing brands on a global scale,” said Genius CEO Andy Heyward. “Genius Brands is experiencing its most significant growth to date with our slate of acquisitions further bolstering our content catalogue and giving us a greater worldwide footprint, and we are in a solid position to take our company to the next level and achieve our goals of delivering quality children’s franchise to the marketplace and revenue to our shareholders.”

Phelan joined Genius Brands in July 2021 as Executive Vice President & General Manager of Global Franchise Management.

Previously she worked for 30 years in consumer products and retail executive roles at major studios, including Lucasfilm, Dreamworks Animation, and Pixar. Phelan was key in creating global campaigns for multi-billion dollar brands, including the Star Wars and Cars franchises, as well as Shrek,  Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar, among many others.

As the company has expanded significantly over the past year with multiple acquisitions, Phelan’s role is expanding to include global brand building across all Genius Brands’ businesses.

“In less than a year of joining Genius Brands, I am excited to be a part of a company that is leading the charge in the kid’s space to deliver innovative, purpose-driven brands to the marketplace, while building a global platform to reach kids anywhere, anytime with quality content,” Phelan said. “It is truly amazing to be a part of the team at Genius Brands and to play a role in the growth of the company, and I look forward to the years ahead as we continue to build our brands and platform on a global scale.”

As Chief Brand Officer, Phelan’s assignment is to build out a 360° ecosystem with multiple consumer touchpoints while driving significant incremental revenue for the company. She will be responsible for overall global brand strategy, consumer products, brand partnerships and collaborations, brand experiences, retail development and more for Genius Brands’ roster of kid’s properties. Those include Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, Shaq’s Garage, Stan Lee Universe, and Rainbow Rangers, plus others in development.

After she successfully launched the Star Wars brand at LEGO Systems Inc., Phelan was recruited directly to Lucasfilm Ltd. where she led the global consumer products & promotional licensing business for the multi-billion-dollar Star Wars franchise in over 60 countries worldwide.

She then joined Pixar Animation Studios, reporting directly to Steve Jobs, where she launched, in concert with Disney Consumer Products,  the original Cars consumer product program, which became a top tier, blockbuster franchise.

Following Pixar, Phelan spent seven years at DreamWorks Animation as head of consumer products and licensing, driving the development of franchise management plans for the studio’s film and television properties, including Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon & others.

At DreamWorks, she managed the retail consumer products business and doubled the consumer products revenue in just three years.  Most recently, she served as President of Global Franchise Management at Lionsgate Entertainment, where under her leadership, the studio created brand extensions spanning location-based and live entertainment venues, consumer products, brand partnerships and an array of promotional ventures for such blockbuster franchises as The Hunger Games and John Wick.

Genius Brands Appoints Kerry Phelan To Key Role