Aardman Hires & Promotes to Executive Board


Aardman has made a new hire and series of promotions to its executive board, including bringing on BBC Studios’ Emma Hardie.

Hardie, who is currently commercial director for global entertainment at BBC Studios, will join Aardman on April 15 in the newly created role of executive commercial and brand director. The role will see her lead the commercial exploitation and strategy for Aardman’s brand portfolio.

Hardie first joined the BBC in 2016, rising to take responsibility for BBC Studios’ global entertainment strategy for unscripted and scripted worldwide. She has a track record of identifying and growing IP with international commercial potential.

“Aardman is an exceptional studio with an incredible history and place in the hearts of audiences worldwide,” said Hardie. “I am thrilled and honored to be joining such a fantastic team and look forward to bringing Aardman’s much-loved characters and brands to fans and partners around the world.”

Meanwhile, existing executive board members Sarah Cox and Daniel Efergan have both received promotions. Cox has been upped to chief creative director, while Efergan has been named executive creative director of interactive and innovation.

Cox, who is a BAFTA-nominated director, first joined Aardman in 2017 to oversee the development of a new slate of IP aimed at kids and family audiences across all platforms. She also works as an executive producer on key Aardman IP.

In Cox’s new role as chief creative director, she will continue to provide leadership for the creative direction of Aardman while also playing a pivotal role in broader studio strategic planning.

Efergan’s promotion to executive creative director of interactive and innovation will see him take on responsibility for ensuring that Aardman continues to innovate both technology and processes to underpin its creative storytelling in new and immersive ways and continue to provide strategic direction and operational oversight of the studio’s gaming and interactive business.

Efergan was formerly executive creative director of interactive at Aardman and has been instrumental in the conception and delivery of BAFTA-winning interactive projects, such as the Tate Movie Project and World of Invention, and led or supported on many others.

Joanna Cave has also recently been promoted from head of finance to finance director. She joined the executive board as a director on January 1 and formally took on the title of finance director from February 15.

Aardman co-founder Peter Lord will be stepping down from his place on the executive board. He will retain his role as a creative director of the company. Acting as executive producer, he will provide development expertise and creative oversight across a slate of individual projects, both short- and long-form.

Sean Clarke, managing director of Aardman, said, “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Emma and announce these promotions. Our approach has always been to champion, nurture and empower the brilliant talent that already exists at Aardman whilst also bringing on board the best of the best from elsewhere across the entertainment industry. It allows us to capitalize on the decades of experience of our colleagues whilst also ensuring we continue to bring in fresh ideas and new and innovative thinking. Needless to say, we are delighted that our co-founder Peter Lord will continue to play a vital role both here at Aardman and across the wider animation world.”