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Gary Raksis Named CFO of Laika

LAIKA, Inc., the Portland-based animation studio whose first feature film, Coraline, has been a critical and box office success, has appointed Gary Raksis to the post of Chief Financial Officer of the company.

Press Release from Laika

Portland, OR; November 9, 2009 -- LAIKA, Inc., the Portland-based animation studio whose first feature film, Coraline, has been a critical and box office success, has appointed Gary Raksis to the post of Chief Financial Officer of the company. The announcement was made today by LAIKA President and CEO Travis Knight.  Mr. Raksis, former Head of Strategic Planning and Corporate Finance at DreamWorks Animation SKG, will be responsible for leading LAIKA’s business operations as the studio continues to grow its pipeline of animated feature films, television commercials, music videos, broadcast graphics and short films. In addition, he will focus on exploiting growth opportunities for the company.  "Gary brings an exceptional range of financial management experience to LAIKA that will be invaluable to our evolution and success," says Mr. Knight.  "His extraordinary business acumen, rare creative sensitivity, and steady governance will provide a foundation for boldly innovative and visionary leadership in our business operations.  We are thrilled that Gary has joined the 

Laika family." 

"I admire LAIKA’s stunning artistic and commercial accomplishments," said Raksis, "and believe my financial experience and entrepreneurial approach will be a great fit with a company looking to expand on a creative vision that has already proven to be powerfully attractive to film- going audiences around the world."

Mr. Raksis held various roles in financial planning and analysis at DreamWorks SKG before, in 2004, being named Head of Strategic Planning and Corporate Finance for DreamWorks Animation SKG. As a key financial executive at DreamWorks, Mr. Raksis oversaw overall strategic planning and day-to-day corporate finance functions while providing  financial and business support required for operational decision making. In addition, Mr. Raksis focused on exploiting growth opportunities and oversaw analysis and operational research supporting DreamWorks’ new projects and businesses. 

A graduate of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Mr. Raksis was previously a research analyst at William O’Neil and Company, an investment information firm that publishes Investor’s Business Daily newspaper.

About LAIKA:

Fueled by the vision of its owner, Nike co-founder and Chairman Philip H. Knight, LAIKA, Inc. (www.laika.com), located in Portland, OR, is an animation studio specializing in feature films, commercials, music videos, broadcast graphics and short films.

LAIKA’s initial feature film Coraline (www.coraline.com), was released by Focus Features on February 6, 2009 to overwhelming positive critical reaction.  Directed and written for the screen by Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach) and based on the internationally best-selling, Hugo Award-winning novel by Neil Gaiman, Coraline is the first major stop-motion animated feature to be shot in 3D.  Its voice cast includes Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Ian McShane, the comic duo of Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, John Hodgman, Keith David and Robert Bailey Jr.

LAIKA/house, the studio’s commercial side, is world renowned for its skill in storytelling and character animation in many media, including CG, stop-motion and cel. The division produces commercials, branded entertainment and content for television, film, Internet and mobile venues.  The team’s ability to create stunning designs and commercials has garnered the attention of advertising agencies such as Leo Burnett, Wieden + Kennedy and BBDO and has attracted clients such as Starbucks, Apple, Coca-Cola, ESPN, M&M’s and the NFL on Fox.

The studio has a 30-year animation history of presenting the artistry of award-winning filmmakers, designers and animators.  In addition to numerous international honors, the company has won two Academy Awards, 11 Emmy Awards, 11 Clio Awards, three London International Advertising and Design Awards, five Mobius Advertising Awards and two Cannes Lion International Advertising Festival awards.

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