Wildbrain Realigns Executive Team

Appointment of Nick Gawne as chief financial officer helps drive strategic focus on content creation, audience engagement and global licensing.

License Global

November 9, 2023

3 Min Read
WildBrain Executive Team
WildBrain Executive Team (Top, l-r) Nick Gawne, Stephanie Betts. (Bottom, l-r) Kate Smith, Maarten Weck.WildBrain

WildBrain has announced senior leadership changes and a streamlined business structure under a focused strategy designed to optimize its existing 360-degree IP management and drive the growth of key WildBrain and partner franchises across its core capabilities.

As part of these changes, Nick Gawne has been appointed chief financial officer, effective Nov. 8, bringing over 20 years of experience in finance, operations and business development in the media space, focusing on kids’ and family IP, including almost 15 years with eOne. Based in Toronto, Gawne reports to Josh Scherba, president, chief executive officer, WildBrain.

WildBrain has also realigned its senior management team and business under its core capabilities of content creation, audience engagement and global licensing to focus on fully unlocking the growth potential for key proprietary brands, including “Peanuts,” “Teletubbies” and “Strawberry Shortcake” as well as key partner brands.

“In the evolving landscape of kids’ and family entertainment, WildBrain is in a position of leadership as the only independent company with a comprehensive, 360-degree suite of in-house expertise across content creation, audience engagement and global licensing,” says Scherba. “As we continue our strategic shift to focus our business on key franchises that can generate the greatest returns from these integrated capabilities, Nick’s deep experience in finance and operations for kids’ IP is an ideal fit for WildBrain. With our strong leadership team, I’m confident this new, simplified structure will supercharge our plans to focus on the growth of key owned IP.”

“I’m delighted to be joining the WildBrain team, as I’ve long admired the company’s capabilities and IP portfolio,” says Gawne. “I look forward to working with Josh as well as the senior management and finance teams across the global organization to help accelerate the growth of our brands and business and to drive value for shareholders.”

As part of the realignment, Maarten Weck has been appointed executive vice president, global partnerships and licensing, and will spearhead oversight of key global IP partnerships with third-party partners across the WildBrain ecosystem. And he will continue to oversee all activities of WildBrain CPLG. Earlier this year, Weck spoke with License Global about Wildbrain’s Aspire brand and how the business has grown.

Tim Erickson will continue to oversee the Peanuts Worldwide business as executive vice president, brand, Peanuts Worldwide. Both Weck and Erickson continue to report to Scherba.

Stephanie Betts has been appointed executive vice president, content creation, reporting to Scherba. She will oversee creative teams behind WildBrain’s content in an expanded role that builds on her long-standing leadership of the company’s development and production business. WildBrain’s digital studio in London will now report to Betts while working with the company’s creative teams to maximize opportunities for its owned and partner IP.

Kate Smith has been appointed executive vice president, audience engagement, overseeing all aspects of WildBrain’s content distribution, its YouTube network operations and digital marketing, reporting to Scherba. Based in London, Smith brings a valuable understanding of how the intersection between content distribution and digital marketing can supercharge brand awareness and engagement, having previously served for eight years as a key member of the management team behind the company’s YouTube business, spearheading its activities across marketing, research and insights.

The company’s Canadian TV business continues to function as a separate business unit reporting to Scherba.

The company has also integrated the business and creative activities of its London-based digital studio under Content Creation to become part of WildBrain Studios. It has integrated the business and operations of its YouTube network under audience engagement as part of its overall distribution and digital marketing business. These capabilities will now function under the overall WildBrain brand without the “Spark” sub-brand.

Deirdre Brennan, chief operating officer, has departed WildBrain to pursue other opportunities.

About the Author(s)

License Global

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