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LAIKA Ups CMO David Burke to COO

With the additional title, the studio exec’s responsibilities include all aspects of the company’s operations while he continues to lead brand marketing and film development.

Oscar-winning animation studio LAIKA has promoted Chief Marketing Officer David Burke, adding the title and responsibility of Chief Operating Officer to his current role. Burke served as general manager for Universal Pictures in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland beginning in 2006 before joining LAIKA in 2019. He will continue to report to the studio’s president and CEO Travis Knight.

“Dave is a bold, forward-thinking leader and an all-around terrific guy,” said Knight. “He has become an indelible part of LAIKA’s story. Dave’s exceptional thoughtfulness, creativity, and discernment make him uniquely suited to steer our studio into the future. Partnering with Dave has been a joy, and together we wholeheartedly believe LAIKA’s finest chapters are ahead of us.” 

Burke's role at LAIKA now includes all aspects of the company’s operations activities while remaining the lead on brand marketing and film promotions. In addition, as a key executive team member, he is involved in developing LAIKA's live-action strategy.

"I am thrilled to take on the expanded role of Chief Marketing and Operations Officer at LAIKA,” shared Burke. “I am grateful to our CEO Travis Knight for his leadership and trust in me to help drive the company's mission forward. Our team of talented colleagues is second to none, and I am excited to continue working alongside them in this new capacity. Together we will continue to build on LAIKA's legacy of creating singular and original stories that entertain and inspire audiences worldwide."

Burke has been instrumental in launching LAIKA’s five Academy Award-nominated legacy titles Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings, and the Missing Link across VOD, AVOD and physical media, including nationwide retrospective theatrical screenings of LAIKA’s library through Fathom. In addition, Burke has established a formal DEI framework for the studio focusing on accessibility and talent pipeline expansion, including a partnership with HBCU Bowie State in Maryland, with LAIKA funding the creation of the university’s stop-motion animation curriculum and physical studio. He has also developed LAIKA’s partnerships with Women in Animation, Film Independent’s Project Involve, and Portland Community College.

Burke's tenure at LAIKA includes a multi-year sponsorship of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures with a named gallery on the museum’s third floor. He expanded the studio’s exhibition program by partnering with the Museum of Moving Image (MOMI), the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), and, most recently, a stop-motion animation exhibit at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP).

While at Universal, Burke planned releases on close to 400 film titles, such as The Bourne Ultimatum, Jurassic World, Fifty Shades of Grey, Ted, Les Misérables, and Bridesmaids; Illumination films, including Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets; and franchise titles such as Fast & Furious franchise, Mamma Mia! Films.

Before Universal Pictures, Burke worked with Irish independent film distributor Clarence Pictures, where he was involved in releasing a wide range of Irish and International films. He is a former Chairman of The Industry Trust, which promotes the value of copyright and creativity in Ireland’s film, television, and video industry. He holds a Film Studies MA from University College Dublin and an MBA from DIT Business School.

Source: LAIKA

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.