By Allison Watkinson
WildBrain has announced changes to its executive team to align with the company’s new business strategy and structure.
The company says its new business structure will consolidate many aspects of Wildbrain’s operations into three distinct divisions. These divisions include content creation, audience engagement and global licensing.
The new strategy is intended to optimize the company’s existing IP management expertise and expedite the growth of wholly-owned and partner franchises.
“In the evolving landscape of kids’ and family entertainment, WildBrain is in a position of leadership as the only independent company with a comprehensive, 360-degree suite of in-house expertise across content creation, audience engagement and global licensing,” said WildBrain CEO, Josh Scherba. “As we continue our strategic shift to focus our business on key franchises that can generate the greatest returns from these integrated capabilities, Nick’s deep experience in finance and operations for kids’ IP is an ideal fit for WildBrain. With our strong leadership team, I’m confident this new, simplified structure will supercharge our plans to focus on the growth of key owned IP, such as Peanuts, Teletubbies and Strawberry Shortcake, alongside key partnership brands.”
As part of these changes, Nick Gawne has joined WildBrain as its new chief financial officer. As a chartered professional accountant, Gawne brings more than twenty years of experience in the media industry in the areas of finance, operations and business development.
Gawne previously held the positions of EVP and GM at eOne for three years following the company’s acquisition by Hasbro. In that role, Gawne oversaw eOne’s international teams in finance, HR and communications as well as three operating units across location-based entertainment, app publishing and animation. Prior to the Hasbro acquisition, Gawne served as COO of family and brands at the company.
“I’m delighted to be joining the WildBrain team, as I’ve long admired the company’s capabilities and IP portfolio,” said Gawne. “I look forward to working with Josh as well as the senior management and finance teams across the global organization to help accelerate the growth of our brands and business and to drive value for shareholders.”
As part of its newly consolidated content creation division, Wildbrain has integrated the business and creative activities of its Vancouver animation studio, its London-based digital studio and its Toronto animation pre-production business.
Stephanie Betts has been named as the new EVP for Wildbrain’s global content creation operations. In her new role, Betts will be responsible for overseeing the company’s global creative content development and production teams.
The company’s Canadian TV business will continue to function as a separate business unit.
Wildbrain has also integrated the business and operations of its YouTube network under audience engagement, as part of its overall distribution and digital marketing business.
Kate Smith has been appointed as Wildbrain’s new EVP of audience engagement. She will oversee all aspects of WildBrain’s content distribution, YouTube network operations and digital marketing initiatives.
Wildbrain’s global licensing division includes all of the activities of its WildBrain CPLG licensing agency, franchise management, global IP partnerships, and the operation of Wildbrain’s Peanuts Worldwide subsidiary.
Maarten Weck has been appointed as Wildbrain’s new EVP of global licensing. In his new role, Weck will oversee global IP partnerships with third-party partners across the majority of WildBrain’s operations, including continued oversight of WildBrain CPLG.
Tim Erickson will continue to serve as EVP of brands at Peanuts Worldwide.