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You’re Hired


Toys “R” Us, Inc., announced that it has named Michael J. Short executive vice-president and CFO, Toys “R” Us, Inc. Short was most recently executive vice-president and CFO of AutoNation. He will serve as a member of the company’s Global Executive Committee and report to Antonio Urcelay, chairman of the board and CEO, Toys “R” Us, Inc.

Prior to his most recent role at AutoNation, Short was executive vice-president and CFO of Universal Orlando. Earlier in his career, he served in a variety of finance roles at Universal Orlando, Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc., and IBM Corporation.

TRU says that Short succeeds Clay Creasey, who has left the organization after eight years.

UP&L Expands its Role with Sperber at Helm

Universal Partnerships & Licensing (UP&L) is broadening its oversight to include consumer products for the NBC network and Sprout globally. Led by UP&L president Stephanie Sperber, the division currently oversees worldwide consumer products, digital games licensing, retail, and film promotions for Universal Pictures. The expansion of Sperber’s role reflects an effort to centralize consumer products and licensing efforts across NBCUniversal and leverage the organization to take advantage of the increased business brought on by the recent success of its Despicable Me 2 licensing and gaming programs.

In addition to its slate of Universal films and library titles, UP&L will now be responsible for licensing and consumer products opportunities for NBC properties such as The Biggest Loser, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and the new program line-up. The team will also manage all consumer products and licensing efforts for Sprout, now fully owned by NBCUniversal.

UP&L is currently focused on Universal’s 2015 slate, which includes Pitch Perfect 2, Fast & Furious 7, Jurassic World, and Minions.

Discovery Comm Creates One Business Unit; Bonard at the Helm

Discovery Communications has united its worldwide licensing and merchandising businesses into one global business unit, Discovery Consumer Products. The new global business unit will be led by Nicolas Bonard, who has run Discovery Enterprises International for the past four years.

With a focus on men, kids, and the network franchises, the joined groups will continue to develop products and services that are inspired by Discovery Communications’ core mission of satisfying curiosity and ultimately delight audiences wherever they shop. In addition to global deals, the newly branded division will continue to cater to the needs and preferences of each region including products that capture the popular TV brands such as Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and TLC.

Imports Dragon Hires Lochhead

Imports Dragon announced the hiring of Renée Lochhead as director of national accounts effective July 2, 2014. She brings a wealth of experience and leadership managing sales in both the U.S. and Canada to the Imports Dragon team. Lochhead will be managing the Imports Dragon sales organization from the office in Toronto and report directly to president, Stephane Tetrault.