WildBrain has announced a number of key management appointments as the Halifax-headquartered children’s entertainment company forges ahead with its ongoing reorganization and rebrand.
Among the new appointments, Michael Riley becomes Chief Brands Officer (CBO). Based in New York, he’ll report to CEO Eric Ellenbogen and will focus on identifying and developing key franchise opportunities for WildBrain brands like Strawberrry Shortcake, Teletubbies, and Inspector Gadget.
Riley is a former VP of Franchise Development and Content Strategy & Distribution at Mattel, and formerly led the start-up of Hasbro’s Franchise and Entertainment Division. He’s also worked for Sony’s Consumer Products Division as Vice President, Strategic Marketing, Film and Television. Since 2014, he’s been with IP 360 Group, a consultancy firm specializing in creating and executing strategic plans to launch, build and grow kids and family IP across all platforms.
Deirdre Brennan has been named Executive Vice President, Content Partnerships. Brennan has been advising WildBrain senoir management on content and distribution strategy since July 2019. She’ll now play a key role in WildBrain’s content group, overseeing the global distribution business as well as its suite of Family-branded broadcast channels in Canada operated by WildBrain Television. Brennan will be based in Toronto and report to WildBrain President Josh Scherba.
Brennan previously worked for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment as General Manager, Universal Kids; Corus Entertainment, where she was Vice President, Content; and ABC TV (Australia), where she was Head of Children’s Television. She has also worked as Director of Content/General Manager for BBC Worldwide Australia and as Director of Programming, Nickelodeon Australia.
Meantime, Joe Tedesco has been named Chair of WildBrain Television, with a focus on revenue relationships, business development, regulatory matters and government relations for the channels. Tedesco will also continue to Chair the Programming Committee for WildBrain Television. Stephanie Betts, EVP, Content and Current Series, and Amir Nasrabadi, EVP and General Manager – Vancouver Studio, each continue in their respective roles, reporting to Josh Scherba.
Jianbo Wei has been appointed Managing Director, China, responsible for building an expanded business strategy to exploit the considerable opportunity in China for both content and consumer products licensing. Based in Shanghai, Wei will oversee Territory Sales Manager Lisa Lee and report to Scherba.
Prior to joining WildBrain, Wei worked for NBCUniversal leading a China content licensing team. He’s also worked for The Walt Disney Company, as Director, Government Relations for the Shanghai Disney Resort, and for Warner Bros., where he was responsible for the international TV and new media distribution business in China.
Daisy Wall has joined the company as Vice President, Short Form Content. Based in Los Angeles, she will develop and execute a short-form digital program for WildBrain’s creative slate, working closely with WildBrain Spark, the company’s AVOD business, and creative teams at WildBrain Studios. She’ll report to Stephanie Betts.
Wall was formerly a Creative Content Producer with NBCUniversal’s DreamworksTV. There, she developed and produced original short form series, as well as branded content for Trolls, How to Train Your Dragon and Spirit Riding Free. Prior to her time in digital, Wall worked as a producer in New York for Discovery, National Geographic, E! and MTV.
Liz Thompson has been promoted to Vice President, Marketing and Communications. Based in Toronto, Thompson has been with WildBrain since 2011 and most recently led the company rebrand. She’ll oversee WildBrain’s brand positioning, and integrated marketing and communications strategy across the company’s corporate, content and consumer product groups.
“These appointments represent further steps forward in the reorganization begun last year and will help us realize the greatest value from our leading portfolio of content and brands,” said Ellenbogen, in a release. “We’re strengthening and aligning our team to propel growth across brand building, creativity and business development. Michael, Deirdre, Daisy, Jianbo and Liz bring considerable expertise and give us a great mix of leadership skills to maximize opportunities in today’s media landscape.”
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