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WildBrain bolsters management team

WildBrain, the Canadian children’s media firm previously known as DHX Media, has made numerous key management appointments, including former Universal Kids boss Deirdre Brennan.

Deirdre Brennan

Brennan has been named executive VP, content partnerships at WildBrain, having been advising the company’s senior management team on content and distribution strategy since July last year.

In her new role, Brennan will oversee the company’s global distribution business as well as its suite of family-branded broadcast channels in Canada operated by WildBrain Television.

Brennan, based in Toronto, will report to WildBrain president Josh Scherba. She previously worked for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment as general manager of Universal Kids, at Corus Entertainment as VP of content and at ABC TV in Australia as head of children’s television.

WildBrain has also named Michael Riley as chief brands officer, which will see the veteran brand, content and marketing executive identify and develop key franchise opportunities for WildBrain’s portfolio of kids and family brands.

These include Strawberry Shortcake, Teletubbies, Rev & Roll and Inspector Gadget, while Riley will also identify new franchise opportunities within the WildBrain library. Based in New York, Riley reports to WildBrain CEO Eric Ellenbogen.

Michael Riley

Riley previously served as VP of franchise development and content strategy and distribution at Mattel and also led Hasbro’s franchise and entertainment division.

Since 2014, Riley has worked with IP 360 Group, a consultancy firm specialising in strategic plans to launch, build and grow kids and family IP across all platforms.

In China, WildBrain has appointed former NBCUniversal, Warner Bros and The Walt Disney Company exec Jianbo Wei as MD. Wei will be responsible for building WildBrain’s expanded business strategy in the country.

Based in Shanghai, Wei will oversee territory sales manager Lisa Lee and report to Scherba.

Elsewhere at WildBrain, Daisy Wall has joined as VP of shortform content, having previously been a creative content producer with NBCUniversal’s DreamWorksTV.

At DreamWorksTV, she developed and produced original shortform series as well as branded content for Trolls, How to Train Your Dragon and Spirit Riding Free. Prior to her time in digital, Wall worked as a producer in New York for channels such as Discovery, National Geographic, E! and MTV.

Based in LA, Wall will work with WildBrain Spark, the company’s AVoD business, and with creative teams at WildBrain Studios. As a member of WildBrain’s development team, Wall reports to Stephanie Betts, WildBrain’s executive VP of content and current series.

Joe Tedesco has been named chair of WildBrain Television, reporting to Scherba. In this role, he will focus on revenue relationships, business development, regulatory matters and government relations. He will also continue to chair the programming committee for WildBrain Television.

Betts, along with Amir Nasrabadi, executive VP and general manager at WildBrain’s Vancouver studio, each continue in their respective roles, reporting to Scherba.

“These appointments represent further steps forward in the reorganisation begun last year and will help us realise the greatest value from our leading portfolio of content and brands,” said Ellenbogen.

“We’re strengthening and aligning our team to propel growth across brand building, creativity and business development. Michael, Deirdre, Daisy, Jianbo and Liz bring considerable expertise and give us a great mix of leadership skills to maximise opportunities in today’s media landscape.”

WildBrain holds around 13,000 half-hours of filmed entertainment in its library and is home to brands such as as Peanuts, Teletubbies, Strawberry Shortcake, Caillou, Inspector Gadget and Degrassi.

The company, then known as DHX Media, underwent a major restructure following a strategic review in 2018, which resulted in last year’s rebrand and management shake-up.


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