By Gary Symons
TLL Editor in Chief
The family entertainment leader Wildbrain Ltd. has promoted Josh Scherba (pictured at right) to the position of CEO, replacing Eric Ellenbogen.
As well, Jim Fielding, Chief Marketing and Brands Officer, has been appointed as Strategic Advisor to the CEO and Board of Directors.
Scherba will take on the role of President and CEO, and will also sit on the board of directors. The move was part of the company’s succession plan, with Ellenbogen enthusiastically endorsing Scherba as the new boss at Wildbrain.
“I have every confidence that Josh is the right person to continue on the path we set together for WildBrain’s future,” Ellenbogen said. “It’s been a tremendous experience to have led the evolution of WildBrain into the industry leader that it is today. I’m pleased to leave the Company in a much stronger position than I found it, and I’ve greatly enjoyed working with WildBrain’s board, management team and talented employees across the global organization.”
Scherba is a deeply experienced executive drawing on over 20 years in the global industry, who has been with WildBrain since its founding in 2006. He was appointed President in 2018, working hand in hand with Ellenbogen on company strategy, and has fostered a content-led approach to igniting and monetizing brands from WildBrain’s deep vault of valuable IP as well as partner-owned brands.
Well known in the entertainment industry as the primary face of business for WildBrain, the company says Scherba has built strong, long-term relationships with numerous major partners, including Apple TV+, Netflix, Amazon, SEGA, YouTube, the BBC, LEGO, Mattel and many others. Most recently, Scherba was the driving force behind WildBrain’s agreement to acquire House of Cool, to significantly expand the Company’s capabilities for premium series, specials and features.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time at WildBrain, and I’m honoured that our board has put their support behind me to lead the company,” Scherba said. “I look forward to continuing to work with our talented people across the organization, our passionate management team and the board to further execute on our global strategy, with a renewed focus on key franchises to drive profitability for the long-term success of the business and enhance value for shareholders.
“With our beloved iconic brands, such as Peanuts, Teletubbies and Strawberry Shortcake, as well as the creative expertise we’ve invested in across our teams and our truly global reach in distribution and licensing, we hold a unique position of strength in the evolving marketplace to continue capitalizing on meaningful partnerships for content and consumer products.”
Fielding’s role will be to act as an advisor and strategic right-hand man to Scherba, and as a critical advisor to the board. That position will be informed by Fielding’s long experience leading consumer-products groups at the world’s top media companies, including Disney, DreamWorks and Twentieth Century Fox.
Fielding is a former President of Disney Stores Worldwide, where he completely redefined the digital and physical experience around the globe. Fielding also held leadership roles at top retailers, including Claire’s Stores, Inc., where he was CEO, The Gap, Lands’ End, and the J. Peterman Company. During his 30-year career, he has recruited and trained global leaders in a variety of disciplines and at all levels.
“WildBrain is one of the most exciting companies I’ve worked with in my career,” Fielding said. “Over the past few years, we’ve made strong progress elevating and celebrating brands like Peanuts, Teletubbies and Strawberry Shortcake.
“With its rich portfolio of IP, combined with its extensive infrastructure and capabilities for content and brand management, plus its wealth of talented people dedicated to creative excellence, WildBrain holds great potential in today’s global market,” he added.
Don Wright, the Chair of WildBrain’s Board of Directors, said that while the company will miss Ellenbogen for the vision that helped spark Wildbrain’s rapid growth, he is very happy with the transition plan that puts Scherben in the CEO’s chair.
“As we look to the future, our focus is to continue building on this strategy to accelerate the growth of key franchises globally,” Wright said. “As President, Josh played an integral role in setting and implementing WildBrain’s 360-degree strategy, and he has been a driving force behind all aspects of the Company’s highly successful content business, from its award-winning animation studio through to its world-leading global distribution business.
“We’re confident Josh has the right combination of strategic vision, deep industry expertise and operational insights to take WildBrain forward into this next phase of growth.”
Wright said the new position for Wright is a huge bonus for Wildbrain, as the company holds a wide variety of IPs that translate well into the consumer product category.
“We’ve worked with Jim for years in his capacity as a consultant for our Peanuts brand, where he developed the current growth strategy, before he joined WildBrain as an executive,” Wright explained. “He has provided valuable strategic and operational counsel across key brands, transforming the Company’s approach to marketing and franchise activation.”
Fielding will maintain oversight of the Company’s franchise and marketing functions during a transition period, while working with Scherba and the Board to implement new leadership.
Scherba says he and Fielding will be working hard to keep Wildbrain on the path it has followed to success under Ellenbogen’s tenure.
“Eric has helped reshape the Company, setting it on a renewed path of sustainable growth and positioning it for a successful future,” Scherben said. “During his tenure, he elevated the Company’s commitment to creative excellence and expanded its global reach by implementing a unified 360-degree strategy across the organization, rebranding the Company, and assembling a top management team.
“We’re grateful for Eric’s vision and valuable contributions and wish him all the best.”