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Argonon hires for US expansion

UK-based production group Argonon is expanding its US operations by launching Argonon USA, opening a new office in LA led by a former Story Street and Collins Avenue executive and promoting existing execs.

Lindsay Schwartz

Argonon USA launches today with the ambition to significantly grow the group’s operations across North America. Argonon CEO James Burstall will head up the new arm, supported by Shirley Escott, chief operating officer of subsidiary Leopard USA, in a newly expanded role.

The company is expanding its operations to the US’s West Coast for the first time by opening an LA base for the US arm of Leopard, one of seven production entities that makes up the Argonon group.

Lindsay Schwartz will lead the Leopard USA LA office as chief creative officer, joining from Story Street, part of Asylum Entertainment’s The Content Group, where she was senior VP of development.

Schwartz previously spent nine years at Collins Avenue, the producer of international hit show Dance Moms, and was responsible for creating, developing and producing reality, documentary, competitive formats and lifestyle programming. She will report to Burstall and Escott.

Argonon is also appointing a West Coast advisor to open dialogue with production and digital companies and to look for further acquisition opportunities to grow the company. For now, Argonon USA will encompass Leopard USA, the Manhattan-headquartered production company behind returning hit show House Hunters International.

The company has confirmed internal promotions across the Leopard USA team. Corporate controller Matt Widmayer has been upped to Leopard USA New York bureau chief, while Livvy Clackett has become executive in charge of production. Jillian Brand remains senior VP of development across the whole of Leopard USA.

James Burstall

Burstall said: “The next phase in the group’s evolution will expand our horizons and broaden our content ambitions in the US, where we will be investing in talent as we grow out of the Covid-19 climate.

“The appointment of the hugely impressive and talented Lindsay Schwartz as Leopard USA CCO in our new West Coast bureau will enable us to build the company out further, expanding both our range of content genres and potential network partners.

“The launch of Argonon USA is another landmark for the group and we’re looking for talented companies in both the production and digital spaces to help us drive expansion across the continent. The opening of our new West Coast base will open up new conversations, and we’re hugely excited by the opportunities this will present in a fast-changing content world.”

Schwartz added: “I have followed Leopard USA for many years and admired their hugely successful and long-running formats such as House Hunters International. It’s the perfect time to join this talented team and help power the next phase of growth, both on the East and West coasts. Our ambition is to identify popular new formats across a range of genres and take Leopard Films USA to the next level.”

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