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ER ups North America chief to group CEO

Troubled kids firm Entertainment Rights has promoted North America chief Deborah Dugan to CEO of the group, while long-serving commercial director Jane Smith has resigned.

Dugan’s appointment comes after former Warner Music chief Nick Philips left the firm on Friday after just nine months in the role.

ER told C21 last week that the company was seeking a CEO with “specific turnaround skills,” as it set out to reduce its £127m (US$190m) debt by reducing its workforce and selling assets.

Dugan remains president and CEO of Entertainment Rights North America, roles she has held since April 2007. Before then she was president of Disney Publishing Worldwide.

The company added that its cost reduction plan continues and it expects to reduce staff numbers by around 50 – about one-third of its workforce – by December 31. C21 revealed recently that 22 jobs were to go from ER’s London office.

At the same time ER announced that chief creative and commercial director Smith, who has been with the firm since 1999, has resigned. She steps down from the board today.

ER said that it has secured a short-term £13m facility from HBOS to cover its current shortfall and it would continue to work closely with the bank to secure longer-term funding.

Outgoing ER chairman Rod Bransgrove said: “Our strengthened financial position, streamlined organisation and new management are all vital steps forward in restructuring the company. Deborah Dugan is a highly distinguished chief executive whose industry knowledge and contacts will prove extremely effective in taking the company forward.

“Deborah’s extensive global experience and her deep knowledge of the US entertainment business, our largest geographical market, position us well for growth. Together with our recently appointed chief financial officer, Edward Knighton, I am confident that we now have the right executive team in place to take us to the next level.”


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