King Features Grows Team with Multiple Appointments
King Features Syndicate, a member of the Hearst Entertainment & Syndication Group announced several new hires to support the company’s expansion into entertainment platforms and new artist and IP acquisition. The new team includes Ricky Li and Christina Nix Lynch, directors of licensing; Bridgette Bek, senior director of digital marketing; Erinn Smart, director of business development; Sam Scholl, licensing coordinator; Kristin Conte, marketing project manager; Stephen Zelin, brand assurance associate; and Saydee Villarruel, office manager and assistant to President C.J. Kettler.
The new staff comes on the heels of the appointment of Kettler as President of King Features Syndicate. Since taking the reins in December, Kettler has been focused adapting King Features’ stable of popular brands for a variety of entertainment platforms.
Bridgette Bek most recently served as director of marketing at iHeartRadio, helping to launch its first two-tiered music subscription service on the iHeartRadio app. Prior to that, she was at Viacom International Media Networks where she helped launch the company’s first global SVOD service in more than 100 countries. She is also an advisor for the String.me app, a food/travel discovery app that uses local experts and AI to suggest and learn about what types of places you might like through chat interactions within your network of friends.
Erinn Smart comes to King Features from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt where she worked to build the business development partnerships for Curious World, Carmen Sandiego and the Oregon Trail. Smart is also a three-time Olympian, who won a silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing as a member of the U.S. Fencing Team.
Ricky Li’s last position was at Discovery Communications, where he served as vice-president of global lifestyle and retail in the licensing division. In addition, he has worked for the Authentic Brands Group, Aeropostale, Skechers, and Christian Dior Couture. In his new role, Li will focus on domestic softlines, digital, LBE (Location Based Entertainment), and Popeye’s 90th anniversary celebration. He will also be providing support in the Asian territories.
Christina Nix Lynch also joins the team from Discovery Communications where she oversaw sales and account management for publishing, pet, promotions, and consumables on behalf of its portfolio of brands including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and Shark Week. Prior to Discovery, Lynch was at Bed Bath & Beyond overseeing strategy and business development for its brands (BBB, buybuy Baby, Christmas Tree Shops, Harmon, and World Market). She has a strong background in licensing and brand management having also worked at The Wildflower Group, Iconix/United Media, Warner Home Entertainment, and Scholastic on brands such as The Girl Scouts, Campari, Peanuts, Dilbert, A&E/History Channel, Clifford and Goosebumps to name a few. Christina is focusing on publishing, but also providing support in the food & beverage and advertising & promotions categories.
Sam Scholl’s first experience in media was a summer internship at NYC Media as a production intern for the television show $9.99. Upon graduation, Scholl worked for public affairs firm Connelly McLaughlin & Woloz, Katz Media Group as a sales representative, and then as an account executive at United Brokerage Services.
Kristin Conte comes from Penguin Random House where she worked on both the brand and licensing divisions of the Penguin Young Readers publishing portfolio.
Stephen Zelin’s career has consisted of experiences in entertainment and media with internships in corporate partnerships with the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball and in Client Success with Insightpool, a social media marketing startup in Atlanta, Georgia.
Saydee Villarruel is a graduate of the New School where she studied Business Management, Culture, Media and Communications. She has project experience in event management and marketing, social media implementation, and digital storytelling. She has also exhibited art work domestically and internationally in Spain and Latin America.