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Who’s News: New Positions at Paramount Global and Penguin Ventures

Paramount Global Promotes Pamela Kaufman to CEO of Global CP & Experiences

Penguin Ventures Appoints Zoe Smith as Senior Category Manager, UK Softlines

Veteran licensing exec Pamela Kaufman has been promoted to take on the role of president and CEO of  international markets, global consumer products and experiences, effective immediately.

The newly created position reports to Bob Bakish, president and CEO of Paramount, and reflects Paramount’s ongoing strategy of globalizing its operations.

In her expanded role, Kaufman will be responsible for driving the continued growth of Paramount’s international business and ensuring the strength of the company’s international operations across six continents, including broadcast and cable networks, streaming and studios and the company’s commercial capabilities. She will work closely with Paramount’s international leadership team, as well as the global content and streaming organization to do so, including helping to guide the continued international rollout of Paramount+ and Pluto TV.

“I am honored to take on this role at such a pivotal time for Paramount’s international business,” says Kaufman. “I know firsthand the global strength of our brand portfolio, and I look forward to working with Bob and the incredible international team as we continue pursuing our global growth strategy, investing in key partnerships, furthering our push into mobile and digital platforms in new markets and operating as one team globally.”

Kaufman will maintain her current responsibilities overseeing the global multi-billion-dollar consumer products and experiences organization.

“Pam has been the strategic force behind growing and expanding some of the most iconic global franchises and properties in entertainment,” says Bakish. “She is a proven and trusted, visionary leader who has transformed our consumer products organization by driving innovation and operating as a global business.

“Pam is uniquely qualified to lead our international business as we expand and diversify our worldwide footprint and accelerate Paramount’s transformation to operating with a truly global approach.”

In November 2021, Kaufman assumed the role of president, global consumer products and experiences, Paramount, overseeing worldwide product and business development, marketing, franchise planning, creative strategy, retail sales and consumer insights for all brands in the portfolio.

In less than a year, Kaufman led the transformation of the consumer products business, unifying the organization by placing the full power of the Paramount ecosystem behind its IP, leading to groundbreaking partnerships, including cutting-edge co-branded collaborations with big names in social media.

Kaufman was also responsible for Viacom’s first direct-to-consumer e-commerce site in 2019 – The SpongeBob Shop – and has since led the expansion to additional online direct-to-consumer business for merchandise tied to various top CBS and Showtime programming, including similar standalone initiatives for brands such as Star Trek, South Park, and MTV.

Paramount has also announced that Raffaele Annecchino has decided to leave the company in his role as president and chief executive officer, Paramount International Networks, Studios and Streaming. Annecchino played a key role at the company for a quarter century.

“I want to extend my thanks to Raffaele Annecchino for the critical role he has played in building Paramount’s international business and expanding our global footprint,” said Bakish. “I am grateful for the dedication he has shown throughout his 25 years at Paramount and wish him well in the future.”

New Face at Penguin Ventures for UK Softlines

Zoe Smith

Penguin Ventures, the licensing team within Penguin Random House Children’s, has appointed Zoe Smith as Senior Category Manager, UK Softlines.

“I am thrilled to be joining the team at Penguin Ventures and to be working on such beloved, timeless brands,” Smith said. “I have huge affection for these brands both professionally and personally, and I cannot wait to work with the amazing licensing partners, drawing on my previous experience, to further expand the already well-established business in the UK.”

Smith will report to David Sprei, Commercial Director at Penguin Ventures and will be responsible for the UK Softlines business across the Ventures’ portfolio of iconic literary children’s brands, including The World of Peter Rabbit, The World of The Snowman, Flower Fairies and Spot.

“Zoe has a wealth of experience and is a softlines specialist, respected by peers and licensees and knows the UK preschool market incredibly well,” Sprei said.  “Across her previous licensing and retail roles, Zoe has developed a phenomenal grasp of the category and joins Ventures to drive further growth across new and existing partners for such an important area of the business. I’m delighted that Zoe arrives ahead of BLE and I’m excited for everyone to meet her there, in her new role.”

You’ll Need 1,000 Bags of Popcorn to Watch Paramount+