Mattel Names Former Maker Studios Head Ynon Kreiz Its Third CEO in 2 Years

Toy maker Mattel announced on Thursday that media veteran Ynon Kreiz, will be the company’s next CEO.

Kreiz, who has been a member of Mattel’s board since June 2017, will take over for Margo Georgiadis, who took the position in February 2017, but told the board Thursday she’s leaving to pursue a new opportunity in the tech sector.

Kreiz is the former CEO of online video network Maker Studios. He will assume the chief role on April 26, and Georgiadis will stay on in an advisory role through May 10 to ensure a smooth transition, the company said in a press release.

Also Read: Ynon Kreiz to Depart Maker Studios, Succeeded by Strategy Chief Courtney Holt

“I am excited by the opportunity to lead the company towards its next phase of transformation and restore Mattel to a high performing toy company,” Kreiz said in a statement. “While the company has been facing significant challenges, we have achieved constructive progress in many key areas.  I am committed to building on our existing strategy as we continue to aggressively implement our transformation plan.

“I look forward to working together to fulfill Mattel’s long term potential and unlock the full value of its world class IP,” he continued.

Kreiz also thanked Georgiadis for the year she spent at the helm and said he was “impressed” with the team Mattel currently has.

Also Read: Hijab-Wearing Barbie Makes Her Debut

“We have made strong progress in addressing the critical structural challenges facing Mattel, and I know Ynon is committed to building on that progress alongside our talented leadership team,” Georgiadis said in a statement. “It has been a privilege to lead such an iconic company at an important time of change… I am proud of what we accomplished together and confident in Mattel’s path forward.”

Last year Mattel reported that net sales were down 11 percent, while sales in North America were down 17 percent. The company has also been plucking along on its transformation plan, targeting to achieve a greater proportion of $650 million net cost elimination initiative in 2018.

Mattel’s shares have declined more than 12 percent in the year to date.

Kreiz also succeeds Christopher Sinclair, who in June 2017 announced his plan to retire in 2018.

Also Read: Netflix Orders Mattel Animated Series ‘Ever After High’

“Ynon has tremendous expertise across areas critical to our strategy, including digital, media and entertainment, and we have already benefitted from that experience and his compelling vision for the company since he became a director,” Sinclair said in a statement.  “Ynon has excelled at anticipating industry trends and brings an outstanding track record of innovation and success, with over 20 years of experience in the media and entertainment industries, including particularly deep experience in children’s entertainment.”

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Mattel Names Endemol And Maker Studios Alum Ynon Kreiz As New CEO

Ynon Kreiz, known in Hollywood circles for his exec stints at Maker Studios and Endemol Group, has been named CEO of Mattel.
Already a board member of the toymaker and poised to become board chairman pending a shareholder vote on May 17, Kreiz will off…

Twitch Taps Maker Studios’ Kendra Johnson as GM of Content Development, Emerging Markets

Twitch, the live-video streamer specializing in video games owned by Amazon, has hired Kendra Johnson as general manager of global content development and emerging markets. Johnson most recently was at Disney’s Maker Studios, serving as head of distribution and strategic partnerships. She reports to John Howell, Twitch’s VP of global partnerships. In the role, Johnson will be […]

Disney Sets More Family-Friendly Path for Maker Studios

Maker Studios was once a sprawling agglomeration of some 60,000 YouTube channels. Now Disney, which has owned Maker since 2014, has dramatically pared back the unit’s focus — aiming to better align a roster of under 1,000 Maker creators with Disney’s family-safe brand and corporate objectives. The Mouse House on Tuesday announced the Disney Digital Network, which rolls… Read more »

Maker Studios Exec Mike Woods Exiting to Join Wurl

Mike Woods, previously VP of product management at Disney’s Maker Studios, has been hired by Wurl, a Silicon Valley company that distributes online-video channels to pay-TV operators and over-the-top services. Woods starts May 1 at the company, reporting to Sean Doherty, Wurl’s CEO and founder. Channels available on the Wurl Network include Tastemade, Condé Nast,… Read more »

Disney Lays Off 80 Employees at Maker Studios, Digital Media Unit

Disney has laid off 80 employees in its digital media unit, which includes multichannel network Maker Studios, as part of a restructuring process that began last year. The firings are the result of redundancies that happened when Disney integrated Maker into its consumer products and digital media division in December.

That division, led by executive vice president Andrew Sugerman, includes Disney’s Oh My Disney and Babble websites and most of its social media assets. Disney also plans to shrink Maker’s talent network, which at one point included 55,000 internet personalities.

“We’re building a digital media network of Disney and non-Disney content for kids and millennials on the platforms they use every day,” Sugerman said in a statement provided to TheWrap. “For advertisers, this network offers mobile, video, short-form content, micro-content, and influencers, all at scale.”

Also Read: Disney’s Maker Studios Cuts Ties With PewDiePie Over Anti-Semitic Videos

The Mouse House acquired Maker in 2014 in a $500 million deal — with up to $450 million more if incentives were met. Maker has failed to meet those targets, receiving only about $200 million.

The multichannel network hosts Internet hits like “Epic Rap Battles of History,” and one of the channel’s subnetworks was (until very recently) home to PewDiePie, a gaming commentator who is behind the world’s most-subscribed YouTube channel. Maker cut ties with PewDiePie after his channel was discovered to contain videos of anti-semitic jokes.

Aside from the PewDiePie fiasco, Maker has hit several speed bumps since the acquisition. Hoped-for synergies with Disney have been slow to take shape, and several executives have departed from the company. Maker also laid off nearly 30 workers last July.

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Disney’s Maker Studios Cuts Ties With YouTube Star PewDiePie After Anti-Semitic Videos

Disney‘s Maker Studios has severed ties with YouTuber PewDiePie, also known as Felix Kjellberg, after videos with anti-Semitic jokes were posted on his channel.
In one of Kjellberg’s videos, which have been removed from the site, two men were seen laughing and holding a banner that read “Death to all Jews.” According to a report, PewDiePie had posted nine videos that included anti-Semitic jokes or Nazi imagery.
“Although Felix has created a following by being provocative…

Disney’s Maker Studios Cuts Ties With PewDiePie Over Anti-Semitic Videos

Disney’s Maker Studios has severed ties with YouTube star PewDiePie, TheWrap has learned.

PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, has been dropped by the company after videos of his featuring anti-semitic jokes were uncovered by the Wall Street Journal.

According to the report, Kjellberg posted a video on Jan. 11 featuring footage of two men laughing as they hold up a banner reading “Death to all Jews.” In addition, the paper found nine other instances of anti-semitic jokes on his channel.

Also Read: PewDiePie Tops List of Highest Paid YouTube Stars of 2016

Kjellberg has since defended the video as a joke that went too far after advertising on the video was pulled by YouTube’s parent company, Google.

“Although Felix has created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case and the resulting videos are inappropriate,” Maker said in a statement provided to TheWrap.

Three of Kjellberg’s videos have since been removed, including the one posted on Jan. 11 and another posted on Jan. 22 that showed a man dressed up as Jesus Christ saying, “Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong.”

Also Read: Disney Gives YouTube Star PewDiePie His Own Digital Network

Kjellberg’s channel currently has more than 53 million subscribers. Last December, he topped Forbes’ list of the highest-paid YouTubers of 2016, having made more than $15 million.

This is not the first time the 27-year-old has come under fire for controversial jokes. He previously threatened to shut down his channel after reaching 50 million subscribers, in what turned out to be a publicity stunt.

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Disney-owned Maker Studios dropped Swedish YouTube star Felix Kjellberg aka PewDiePie from its roster Monday after he published videos with anti-semitic jokes. The separation was first reported by the Wall Street Journal Monday evening, and has since been confirmed by Maker, with a spokesperson sending Variety the following statement: “Although Felix has created a following by being… Read more »

Maker Studios Head Courtney Holt to Step Down for EVP Role Within Disney

Maker Studios head Courtney Holt is stepping down from his current role to transition to a new role within parent company Disney, TheWrap has learned.

An individual with knowledge of the situation says that Holt will take on the new role of executive vice president of media and strategy. Maker will now be overseen by Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president of content and media within Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI).

Holt joined Maker after serving as an advisor to News Corp. Digital and as president of MySpace Music, a joint venture between MySpace and major record labels and publishers. Previously, he was executive vice president of digital media and music for the MTV Networks Music and Logo Group, part of Viacom.

Also Read: Disney’s Maker Studios Pink-Slips Nearly 30 Workers

Disney acquired Maker in 2014 in a $500 million deal — with up to $450 million more if incentives were met. Maker has failed to meet those targets, receiving only about $200 million.

The multichannel network hosts Internet hits like “Epic Rap Battles of History,” and one of the channel’s sub-networks is home to PewDiePie, a gaming commentator who fronts the world’s most-subscribed YouTube channel.

But the company has hit some speed bumps since the acquisition, as synergies with Disney have been slow to take shape, and several executives departed from the company. In January, Holt replaced Ynon Kreiz as the head of the multichannel network.

Variety first reported this news.

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U.K.’s TalkTalk Signs Deal for Maker Studios Videos

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