WildBrain has made a number of key management appointments, including Deirdre Brennan being named executive VP of content partnerships.
Brennan, who has more than 20 years of leadership experience in the children’s entertainment and media industry, has been advising WildBrain’s senior management team since last July on content and distribution strategy, priorities and processes. In her new post, Brennan will play a key role in WildBrain’s content group, overseeing the company’s global distribution business as well as its suite of branded channels in Canada operated by WildBrain Television.
Reporting to WildBrain President Josh Scherba, Brennan is based in Toronto. She previously worked for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment as general manager of Universal Kids, Corus Entertainment as VP of content and Australia’s ABC TV as head of children’s television. Brennan said: “Having worked closely with Josh Scherba and WildBrain in recent months, I am incredibly excited to lead the distribution and broadcast teams as we focus on creative excellence and valued content partnerships, leveraging the power of WildBrain’s integrated business.”
Michael Riley has been appointed chief brands officer. Riley will draw on his more than 25 years of experience in company building, brand and IP development and global marketing to identify and develop key franchise opportunities for WildBrain’s portfolio of brands, and he will identify new franchise opportunities within the WildBrain ecosystem. Based in New York, Riley reports to WildBrain CEO Eric Ellenbogen.
Riley’s previous roles include VP of franchise development and content strategy and distribution at Mattel and leading the start-up of Hasbro’s franchise and entertainment division. Riley said: “With the growth of streaming platforms worldwide, there has never been a better time to develop content-driven brands. WildBrain owns some of the world’s most-loved kids’ content and I look forward to working with the team to build out new and expand existing brand strategies for key properties in our IP portfolio.”
Joe Tedesco has been named chair of WildBrain Television, reporting to Scherba. In this role, Tedesco will focus on revenue relationships, business development, regulatory matters and government relations for the channels. Tedesco will also continue to chair the programming committee for WildBrain Television.
Jianbo Wei becomes managing director for China. Wei will be responsible for crafting an expanded business strategy to exploit the opportunity in China for WildBrain’s content and consumer products licensing. Based in Shanghai, Wei will oversee territory sales manager Lisa Lee and report to Scherba.
Prior to joining WildBrain, Wei worked for NBCUniversal, where he built and led a China team. Before that, Wei worked for The Walt Disney Company as director of government relations for the Shanghai Disney Resort. Prior to Disney, Wei worked for Warner Bros., responsible for the international TV and new media distribution business in China. Wei commented: “I am delighted to join the WildBrain team and energized to apply my many years of experience in China’s entertainment industry to unlock and grow value for WildBrain’s content and brands.”
As VP of short-form content, Daisy Wall will play a key role in WildBrain’s overall content strategy, developing and executing a short-form digital program for the company’s creative slate. Based in Los Angeles, Wall will work closely with WildBrain Spark, the company’s AVOD business, and with creative teams at WildBrain Studios. She reports to Stephanie Betts, executive VP of content and current series. Wall said: “WildBrain has an incredibly rich collection of content and brands, and the WildBrain Spark platform is second to none for delivering short-form content. I’m thrilled to be diving in to spearhead a new short-form program with the development, production and WildBrain Spark teams. I look forward to experimenting on new ways to engage, surprise, and inspire young viewers.”
Reporting to Scherba, Liz Thompson has been promoted to the position of VP of marketing and communications. She oversees WildBrain’s brand positioning, driving an integrated marketing and communications strategy across the company’s corporate, content and consumer product groups. Thompson said: “The rebrand to WildBrain has been a unifying and energizing force across the company and I am excited now to lead a team of marketing and communications professionals as we build on this momentum to continue our focus on creativity, imagination and innovation.”