As we first heard right around the time of DC’s layoffs, DC has just announced that they have hired a general manager with an eSports background: Daniel Cherry, formerly the chief marketing officer at Activision Blizzard. Cherry starts on September 8th and will report to WB global brands and experience president, Pam Lifford.
According to THR.
In the newly created position, [Cherry] will head up business affairs editorial, talent services, marketing, sales, brand and direct to consumer for DC. He will also oversee business development with current senior vp, business strategy, finance and administration, Anne DePies.
The move will also allow Jim Lee, DC’s CCO and publisher, to continue to “bring his unmatched creativity, passion and innate knowledge of the DC characters and canon to the company’s efforts to evolve the brand and create relevance for new audiences around the world.”
UPDATED: DC has provided a statement from Cherry on his hire:
“It’s truly a career honor to partner with Pam Lifford, and the creative genius of Jim Lee, the amazing team at DC Comics and WarnerMedia to lead this iconic brand and legendary characters into the future, said Cherry. “ I’ve been a huge fan since I first discovered the joy of comics from my father who collected Shazam oversized comics from the 1970s. I am standing on the shoulders of giants like Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Neal Adams Harry Lampert, and so many others. I’m especially proud to be continuing the legacy of fellow Ohioan and Cleveland native Jerry Siegel, who created Superman. While always respecting the past, I also think it’s our responsibility to leverage the cultural power of the DC Comics to entertain and inspire an increasingly diverse global fan base. Comics have the power to create unique imagery and narratives that can move the world toward a better, more inclusive version of itself. It’s my sincere hope that I am able to contribute and help evolve the brand and its relevance for generations to come.”
Cherry’s previous jobs include chief marketing and innovation officer for the New Jersey Devils hockey team, and stints with Diageo, the New York Cosmos, Anomaly and Wieden + Kennedy. At Activision Blizzard he oversaw the global business, brand and gaming content portfolio.
In case you are a Baby Boomer or Gen Xer who isn’t into eSports, it’s basically watching people play video games in arena or online settings, usually in tournaments. While this may sound boring, is it any more boring than golf or watching people play poker? Cherry says it’s a $1.2 billion business in 2020, which is about the same as comics publishing, oddly enough.
While eSports has little in common with comic book publishing, Daniel Cherry clearly has a strong track record in various businesses, and should be able to take on some of the administrative functions of publisher away from Lee so his time is better spent on the creative end of things. In the above-linked interview, Cherry talks a lot more about his background in sports, entertainment and advertising, as well as connecting with 18- to 34-year-old consumers.
As far as Kremlinology goes, the hiring of a young, ambitious and well-rounded exec to oversee DC sounds promising. It’s not hiring a bean counter to shut the thing down, but looking to evolve, it seems.
But that’s my take fresh from the oven. More to come, as we say.