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Anki Hires Industry Vets from EA, Activision

Anki, the creator of Anki DRIVE, has appointed Joby Otero, former creative director for Activision’s Skylanders, as its chief creative officer, along with Craig Rechenmacher, a veteran of Electronic Arts (EA), as its chief marketing officer. The pair will work to expand Anki DRIVE’s interactive experience as well as strengthen Anki’s gaming foundation and creative vision to bring a new dynamic to the interactive toy space.

Otero is a 23-year veteran of the games industry, having worked across genres and in nearly every aspect of development as both a studio head and publishing executive. Most recently he was vice-president of art and technology at Activision, where he was a key leader driving the creation of the multi-billion dollar Skylanders franchise.

Rechenmacher has 17 years of experience driving brand, product, digital marketing, and business development at leading global interactive entertainment and gaming companies. He most recently served as CMO of Slacker Radio. Prior to Slacker, Rechenmacher was vice-president of marketing and business development for Origin, EA’s direct-to-consumer digital distribution platform. During his seven years at Origin, he led global marketing efforts for EA’s Partners and Games Label division, working on key titles including Rock Band, Need for Speed, Dead Space, and The Godfather.

Anki DRIVE is a first-of-its-kind battle racing game that lets players use a mobile app to race and customize real battle-equipped cars alone or against friends. The next evolution in the “toys-to-life” category, each Anki DRIVE car features a built-in 50-mhz computer and camera under its hood. Anki DRIVE is currently available on iOS and Android devices.

Gove Joins Iconix BoD

Iconix Brand Group appointed Sue Gove to its Board of Directors as an independent director of the company, effective immediately. Gove will also serve on the company’s Audit Committee.

Gove is an international retail senior executive with public and private company board experience. She most recently served as CEO of Golfsmith International. She led the Golfsmith-Golf Town merger, integrating the two firms and positioning the company for growth. Prior to Golfsmith International, Gove worked as an independent consultant, serving specialty retail and private equity clients, and held multiple executive roles during her 25-year tenure at Zale Corporation, including EVP and COO. Gove has been an independent director of AutoZone Inc. since 2005, and has also served on the boards of Golfsmith International and Zale Corporation.

Endemol, Shine Group, Core Media Joint Venture Announce Leadership Team

Cris Abrego and Charlie Corwin will serve as co-chairmen and co-CEOs North America of a new joint venture that brings together Endemol, Shine Group, and CORE Media. In their new roles, Abrego and Corwin will continue to report to Tim Hincks, president of the global multi-platform content provider, and will continue to spearhead day-to-day operations across Endemol’s operations in the U.S., in addition to assuming responsibility for Shine America upon completion of the transaction. Peter Hurwitz will oversee CORE Media as president.

Hincks was appointed president of the joint venture earlier this week. In his role as president, Hincks will report to Sophie Turner Laing, CEO of the global multi-platform content provider. Hincks, who will be based in London, will work with Turner Laing to develop and grow the creative and strategic direction of the new company, and will have specific responsibility for the UK and U.S. Hincks joined Endemol in 1999 after working on non-fiction and current affairs programming for the BBC since 1990.

Rich Ross, CEO of Shine America, will leave to take up a new industry position at the end of this month. Shine Group CEO, Alex Mahon will undertake day-to-day responsibilities for Shine America until the new joint venture is formed.

Earlier this year, 21st Century Fox and Apollo announced plans to create the new global multi-platform content provider, bringing together Endemol, Shine Group, and CORE Media. Under the terms of the agreement 21st Century Fox and Apollo will jointly manage the newly created group, with each owning 50 percent. The group’s businesses will have creative operations in more than 30 markets, with a diverse portfolio of more than 600 revenue generating formats in both the scripted and non-scripted genres; coupled with digital, gaming, and distribution operations.

Completion of the transaction remains subject to regulatory clearances and other customary closing conditions. Prior to completion of the transaction, Endemol, Shine and CORE will continue to operate as separate companies. Upon completion of the transaction, CORE will retain its own capital structure. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year.