Kyra E. Reppen, the former head of NickJr.com and creator and architect behind the recently launched ParentsConnect brand, has been named svp/gm of NeoPets, the largest and fastest-growing youth community on the Internet. In her new role, Reppen will lead and manage all day-to-day operations, creative direction and business strategy for NeoPets, which is based in Glendale, California.
Toronto-based Portfolio Ent. Inc. has upped Aron Dunn from development exec to manager of creative development. In his new role, Dunn will over see the acquisition of new intellectual properties and shepherd them through the development process. He will also explore the extension of all brands across multiple delivery platforms including web, mobile and game applications.
Jetix Europe announced today (Sept. 22, 2006) that Michael Lekes has resigned from his position as svp of programming for personal reasons. He leaves the company at the end of September after four years service. Jetix Europe actively seeking a replacement to take over the leadership of its content division as soon as possible.
Mark Kimball and Rick Sayre have joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Science and Technology Council, bringing the groups membership to 25.
Kimball, the director of digital production at the Walt Disney Co., shared a Scientific and Engineering Award in 1991 for the design and development of the CAPS production system for feature film animation. Sayre, the supervising technical director at Pixar Animation Studios, shared a Technical Achievement Award in 1996 for the creation and development of the Direct Input Device.
Carol Lee has been named vp, home entertainment, North America, Granada International, based at the companys U.S. headquarters in Sherman Oaks, California, and is responsible for delivering Granada Internationals substantial programming library across all digital platforms. She will be involved in securing new distribution deals, overseeing product release strategy and expanding sales opportunities.
Digital Domain has hired a trio of top senior execs from Industrial Light & Magic as it attempts to re-emerge as a vfx powerhouse. Mark Miller, a 22-year vet of ILM, most recently vp and senior exec in charge of production and marketing, has been named president of Digital Domain, reporting to ceo Carl Stork. Cliff Plumer will retain his cto title at Digital Domain and will lead the companys planned expansion of its technological resources and in the convergence of film and videogames. Kim Libreri, a vfx supervisor at ILM (POSEIDON), will join Digital Domain as vp, advanced strategy.
Anthony Marcoly has been promoted from evp to president, sales and distribution, Buena Vista International Inc., taking on a more comprehensive management role overseeing all aspects of sales and distribution for Disney and Touchstone Picture films internationally, as well as continuing his oversight of international acquisitions.
Framestore CFC has named U.K. Film Council commissioner Steve Norris md of its film division, reports THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.
Norris has held the lead Film Council post since 1997, overseeing a period in which more than 200 international films with budgets totaling around $6 billion were filmed in U.K., including several vfx heavy productions such as the HARRY POTTER franchise.
Licensing veteran Cynthia Money joins the Taffy Ent. team as president, worldwide consumer products, to build the consumer awareness and innovative marketing platforms for all of the companys award-winning brands. Money will be based in Los Angeles.
Zoic Studios announced the addition of Barbara Genicoff, as visual effects producer for commercials. The company, known for its outstanding visual effects in advertising, TV and feature film, has experienced significant growth in all areas and approached Genicoff as a complement to the burgeoning commercial team.
Amy Gruberg joins Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) as svp, media operations, responsible for shaping the media vision for MGM. She will influence all aspects of the studios media operations, including overseeing the media strategy and placement for each of the studios films, working on MGM Home Ent. releases, and building brand extensions for MGMs television partners as films enter their network and cable windows.
Two veteran FOX publicity execs have been promoted to vp as Shannon Ryan has been named vp, entertainment publicity, and Elissa Johansmeier has been promoted to vp, publicity and corporate communications. Both report to Joe Earley, evp, publicity, corporate communications and creative services for FOX, who also announced several additional promotions within the networks publicity department.
Former Digital Domain vet Dennis Hoffman has been appointed vp/head of production for Vancouver-based Anthem Visual Effects Inc. Anthem was recently awarded, for the second consecutive year, production of visual effects for Starz/IDT Ent.s anthology series MASTERS OF HORROR.
Kent Rice has been named ceo of Starz Animation, a division of Starz Media, to develop and produce animated feature-length movies. Rice reports to Clasen.
Rice is a 20-year vet with executive level management experience in cable operations, telecom and TV programming, both in domestic and international markets. Most recently, he had been executive adviser to Starz Ent., helping acquire the newly named Starz Media and the integration of Starz Media with Starz Ent.
Taffy Ent., the brand management company for childrens and animation company MoonScoop and U.S.-based animation studio Mike Young Prods. (MYP), has promoted Lionel Marty in its Paris office to president of worldwide distribution. In the newly created position, Marty heads television and video sales for all Taffy Ent.s library of popular kids programming worldwide, including the MYP-produced multi-award-winning JAKERS!, for which Taffy holds worldwide television distribution rights, and MoonScoops hit show, CODE LYOKO.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) is restructuring its worldwide television distribution operation, hiring senior management and bringing a number of new high profile programs to buyers around the globe. Seasoned distribution exec Jim Packer assumes the new title of president and remains in charge of television distribution worldwide, including U.S. barter sales and syndication, as well as all emerging forms of television programming distribution on a worldwide basis.
Amy Pascal has been promoted to co-chairman of Sony Pictures Ent. (SPE) and has extended her deal with the studio to 2011.
In addition to her new title, Pascal will continue to serve in her role as chairman of the studio's Motion Picture Group. Michael Lynton, chairman/ceo of SPE, and the two will continue to report to Sir Howard Stringer, chairman/ceo of Sony Corp.
Olivia King Canter joins Entertainment Rights Plc. as director of sales for Latin America and Canada. She will be responsible for driving ERs business in these key territories and will be based in ERs New York City office.
King Canter report to Kathleen Hricik, evp/md of the United States of America, Canada and Latin America, as well as heads up ERs U.S. operations.
David Pierce is the new president/ceo of Atari Inc., assuming the responsibilities of ceo previously held by Bruno Bonnell. Pierce is in charge of the operational management of Atari and will partner with Bonnell to achieve strategic objectives while Bonnell will continue to serve as the company's chairman/coo, steering the creative vision for Atari.
Various news organization report that Viacom Inc. exec chairman/founder Sumner Redstone has ousted Tom Freston and the company's board of directors has appointed Philippe P. Dauman, 52, president/ceo. The board also named Thomas E. Dooley, 49, to the newly created position of svp/chief administrative officer.
IDT Ent. has been renamed Starz Media and Starz Ent. Group has been renamed Starz Ent., both wholly owned subsidiaries of Starz Llc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corp. Liberty recently acquired IDTE from IDT Corp. Robert B. Clasen will serve as chairman/ceo of both entities and of Starz Llc., which will be the umbrella company overseeing the two operating units.
In an effort to streamline operations and facilitate the expansion of its two channels AXN ASIA and Animax ASIA SPE Networks Asia underwent a re-organization. In the last three months, the organization moved to consolidate the functions of program and brand marketing under the two channel brands AXN and Animax. In the past, staff from programming, marketing and creative services reported to their respective functional heads.
Veteran television distribution exec Ken Werner, who was in charge of network distribution for The WB for the past nine years and was an important member of the Warner Bros. team that formed The CW, has been named president, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution (WBDTD). He will take the reins of one of the leading distributors of first-run and off-network programming in the domestic television marketplace.
Werner assumes the role previously held for 17 years by Dick Robertson, who has been named senior advisor to the Warner Bros. Television Group.
Karen Roberts joins PorchLight Ent. in the newly created post of svp, acquisitions to expand the company's library of family-friendly, live-action and animated programming. Roberts will be based in Los Angeles and report to Bruce Johnson, PorchLights ceo and William Baumann, coo. Roberts and her team will aggressively identify and pursue finished feature films that support PorchLights overall acquisition strategy add new projects to the companys development slate.