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New Hires at Saban

Saban Brands LLC appointed Mary Rafferty as vice-president of toys and hard lines and Rob Hughes as marketing director. The new additions emphasize Saban Brand’s commitment to continued growth. The company announced earlier this year that it would invest more than $500 million toward the acquisition of consumer brands and intellectual properties in various categories.

In her new position, Rafferty will be responsible for overseeing toy licensing, product development, and retail for Paul Frank and the new Power Rangers series debuting in 2011. Hughes will manage marketing campaigns for Saban Brands, focusing on Power Rangers and Paul Frank, as well as other future acquisitions.

A veteran of the licensing and toy business for over 20 years, Rafferty most recently worked with Spin Master. Prior to Spin Master, she owned her own licensing business. Rafferty also spent eight years at Mattel.

Hughes comes to Saban Brands by way of Disney Channel where he spent more than two years as marketing manager for the network. Additionally he developed the social networking initiative for Playhouse Disney. Additionally Hughes spent five years at Disney ABC Cable Networks Group.

Changes at Big Idea

Big Idea Entertainment appointed VeggieTales co-creator and vice-president of development, Mike Nawrocki, to executive vice-president of Big Idea Entertainment Studios. In his new role, Nawrocki will provide oversight and leadership to all Big Idea productions.

In addition, the company has retained the services of Mark Steele, president and executive creative of Steelehouse Productions, to the newly created role of chief of creative affairs, Big Idea Entertainment. Steele brings almost 20 years of experience in writing, directing, and production to the company.

Stewart Promoted at Sesame

Sesame Workshop has promoted Anita Stewart to senior vice-president of corporate partnerships. She joined the Workshop in 2003 and is responsible for developing and securing strategic corporate alliances and sponsorship programs for the Workshop’s signature children’s series, Sesame Street and The Electric Company in the U.S., as well as for co-productions throughout the world. Stewart also oversees corporate funding for domestic and international community outreach partnerships including Healthy Habits for Life, Sesame’s STEM initiative, and a new global road safety initiative.

Previously, Stewart worked at PBS. She has also held positions at MobileComm, Inc., Texaco, and at N.W. Ayer & Partners.