EM.TV & Merchandising's head of finance, Rolf Rickmeyer, is stepping down after less than a year with the German firm. Rumors say that Rickmeyer had various disagreements with Kirch Group, who helped bail out EM.TV from money woes a few months back. Marius Schwarz, head of finance for German exhibitor CinemaxX, will replace Rickmeyer. Prior to CinemaxX, Schwarz oversaw finance at Sat1, the Kirch-owned commercial TV channel. Former Kirch exec Werner Klatten is set to replace EM.TV founder and CEO Thomas Haffa in September.
REZN8, a digital design and communications firm, has announced that it has created an advisory board to help guide its business and to facilitate new market initiatives. The advisory board consists of five members from various disciplines who will provide input on strategic advice and direction to Paul Sidlo, founder and CEO of REZN8. Robert Block is co-founder, chairman and CEO of International Communication Technologies Inc. (ICT). His role will include advising on strategic corporate planning, technology developments and communication structuring and negotiations.
Cartoon Network has named Jim Samples the new executive VP and general manager of Cartoon Network Worldwide. He will remain as the general manager of Cartoon Network's online division, which he took over in March 2000. He will succeed Cartoon Network founder, Betty Cohen, who moved over to AOL Time Warner to develop new shows for teens and young adults. Samples takes over a channel whose advertising revenues are speculated to grow from US$133.6 million in 2000 to $162.5 million this year.
Brilliant Digital Entertainment has named hip-hop publisher Russell Simmons to its board of directors. Simmons' companies include Def Jam Entertainment, Phat Farm Clothing, Rush Communications and D-Rush, a joint venture with Deutsch Advertising. Simmons and his partner Stan Lathan are joint-ventured with Brilliant Digital in Digital Hip Hop, a Los Angeles-based digital production company. In addition, Brilliant Digital has announced that president Kevin Bermeister will also assume the additional role of CEO. Mark Dyne, the former CEO, will remain the company's chairman.
Gary Sproule has been named vice president of finance and chief financial officer at Disney Interactive. He will oversee the worldwide finance function for the company, including strategic planning, controllership, operations, administration and information technology. Sproule joins Disney Interactive from Whatshotnow.com, where he was the chief financial officer and chief operating officer. Prior to Whatshotnow.com, Sproule was chief financial officer at both Magnet Interactive Communications and Electek Group.
Tom Fitzgerald, head of Theme Park Productions Inc., has been promoted to executive vice president, senior creative executive, for Walt Disney Imagineering. In his new role, Fitzgerald will run the day-to-day creative operations of Walt Disney Imagineering. He will continue his current responsibilities for Theme Park Productions, which produces film media for Disney's Theme Parks. Marty Sklar, vice chairman and principal creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, said, "When I hired Tom 23 years ago, I saw in him something special in the way of initiative and creativity.
The Disney Channel has formed a new management team, as a result of ABC Cable Networks Group's recent reorganization. Gary Marsh was named executive vice president, original programming and production; Andrea Taylor, senior vice president, marketing; and Jill Casagrande senior vice president, programming. "This team's creative vision and expertise in the marketplace will ensure Disney Channel's place as a leader in the creation of quality, kid-driven original product," said Rich Ross, general manager, Disney Channel. "This is the perfect team to build upon our already successful network.
Black Logic has signed London-based spot and feature film special effects director David Lane. Lane made his directing debut in television on the cult series THUNDERBIRDS. His other television credits include SPACE 1999, STINGRAY, UFO, CAPTAIN SCARLET AND THE MYSTERIONS and CATWEZEL. His film credits include SUPERGIRL and SANTA CLAUS. "With David (Lane) on the Black Logic team, we can offer clients an expanded perspective on visual effects.
Toonz Animation India has announced that Tiersa Christine has joined the company as studio manager. Previously, Christine served as manager of operations for Disney I.d.e.a.s. where she was responsible for day-to-day operations for the full service post-production facility based in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. President and CEO Bill Dennis said, "I've known Tiersa pre-dating my days at Disney and Ive kept an eye on her progress. I feel shell bring a tremendous wealth of experience to the studio in India and I know that this is a good match for both studio and her.
Skunk has signed Flash director Michael Overbeck to their roster. The London-based company will represent the director internationally for commercials and music videos. Overbeck has won numerous international awards, including the 2000 Audience choice award at RESFEST. Overbeck recently worked on a pilot entitled UTICA CARTOON for the Cartoon Network, which aired Friday, July 13. "It's a great pleasure to be working with such a young and unique talent. Mike takes the application of the extremely popular Flash to another level," said Hyun-Ho Khang of Skunk.
Stephen Johnstone has been promoted to the newly created position of senior vice president and general manager, Cartoon Network Europe, Middle East and Africa. Johnstone started with Turner eight years ago in the advertising sales division before moving into television channel management. More recently, he has held the post of head of interactive for Turner's entertainment networks. In his new roles, he will manage Cartoon Network's TV channels, interactive services and off-channel commerce.
Wild Brain, Inc. has named Steve Ramirez vice president of marketing and business development and Andrew Steiner as vice president of sales. In his new position, Ramirez will provide the strategic direction for Wild Brain's marketing and new business efforts. His responsibilities include developing brand strategy, creative advertising, public relations, licensing and merchandising and corporate identity. Ramirez joins Wild Brain from Collaborative Media, publishers of the popular etown.com consumer electronics Website where he served as VP of marketing.
New York-based Click 3x, the creative design, animation and production studio, has hired Jason Mayo as executive producer. Mayo, formerly executive producer of arc*light editorial, New York, will oversee production, supervise bidding and manage client relations. He will also assist Click 3x managing director Michael Porte and VP/national sales director Phil McIntyre in planning for the studio's future growth. In joining Click 3x, Mayo reunites with Porte, who was one of the founders of arc*light.
NewTek, manufacturer of industry-leading video, 2D and 3D animation products, has announced the promotion of Jim Plant to the posts of president and CEO. Plant joined NewTek as a consultant in February and was named executive vice president of business and strategic development in April. Tim Jenison, NewTek founder, CTO and chairman, has served as the interim president and CEO since early 1998. As president, Plant will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the company's operations.
Angus Cheng has been named director of development for Hong Kong by Walt Disney Imagineering. Cheng will serve as the point man for Walt Disney Imagineering's Hong Kong-based project team, which is developing the new theme park resort on Lantau Island. The Hong Kong Disneyland project includes a Disneyland-branded theme park, hotels and a retail, dining and entertainment complex. The new park is scheduled to open in 2005/2006. In this role, he will serve as a liaison between the Hong Kong SAR government and the Imagineering team in the United States.
Spontaneous Combustion has added senior visual effects designer Julie Watkins to its roster. Watkins comes to Spontaneous from R!OT Manhattan, where she spent the last two and a half years, as senior inferno* artist creating campaigns and spots for Volkswagen, AT&T, Cingular, NEC, ITT, Nokia, WebMD, Nine Inch Nails, HBO, MTV, Oxygen Channel, TBS, ESPN, CBS and Fox Kids, among others. Her film credits include LOST IN SPACE, LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, THE END, RAZORBLADE SMILE and HOSTILE WATER.
Visual effects supervisor Stefano Trivelli has joined the staff of R!OT Santa Monica. To make the move, Trivelli has emigrated from his native Italy where he was co-founder, lead compositor and visual effects supervisor at Ubik Visuals Effects, Milan. Through Ubik, Trivelli designed and executed visual effects for four feature films and more than 100 commercials, including U.S. spots for Jeep, Pennzoil and Celebrity Cruises.
San Franciscos Wild Brain, Inc. has promoted BZ Petroff to head of production. In her new position, Petroff will be responsible for developing strategies to strengthen all aspects of the studios various production-related departments. As Wild Brain continues to add to its CG and other technology-based capabilities, BZ will look for ways to incorporate these tools into the studios work in TV, film and interactive production. In addition to her new role as head of production, Petroff is also a dedicated producer. She recently completed work on the new Warner Bros.
Eve Ehrich has joined ATTIK, the brand communications company, as a senior producer in the New York studio. While production managing a package of promos for ESPN2's TUESDAY AND FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS, which was designed, directed and produced by ATTIK earlier this year, Ehrich was invited to join the company. "I was enjoying the freelance life but an offer to work with a company that is as forward thinking conceptually and creatively as ATTIK was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.
The legendary June Foray... Will Ryan has just enough time to ask her nine and a half succinct questions before she is off on her busy, busy schedule.
DIC Entertainment has announced the appointment of Brad Brooks as president. Brooks joined DIC in February 2000 to facilitate the management-led buy back of DIC from Disney. He helped raise the necessary capital from Chase Manhattan Bank and DIC's equity partner Bain Capital, as well as negotiated the terms of the deal. Brooks' responsibilities have included hiring several key management personnel, establishing internal systems and procedures, and assessing potential acquisition targets.
Alex Ferrari has been promoted to executive vice president and chief financial operator for MTV Networks. During his tenure, Ferrari has played a key role in virtually every major company project since joining the company in 1982. He was involved with the formation of Comedy Central, Nick Studios Florida, and the MTVi Group as well as the international expansion of the MTVN brands.
Douglas T. Parrish has been named senior vice president, technology and chief information officer for the Walt Disney Internet Group. In his new position, Parrish is responsible for overseeing the technology platform, infrastructure and applications for The Walt Disney Co.'s Internet properties. This includes networking infrastructure, Web hosting and serving, applications and tool development, and advanced and new technologies development.
Cartoon Network Italy has appointed a top-level marketing director to build the brand's image in the Italian marketplace. Jaime Ondarza comes from an international advertising agency background, bringing valuable knowledge of Italian consumer marketing to Cartoon Network Italy. He was recently with Young and Rubicam and previously at Saatchi & Saatchi and Pirella Gottsche Lowe. "My prime focus is to establish Cartoon Network in national contemporary culture," said Jaime.