One of the things that I was told many times by industry insiders about DC’s sales struggles of the last year or so is that one of the biggest causative factors was the lack of former SVP of sales Bob Wayne’s guiding hand. Wayne understood the direct market better than anyone and retailers loved and respected him.
While DC hired a full slate of VPs and SVPs to run sales, marketing, planning and strategy, when they moved to Burbank, Jim “Ski” Sokolowski was the senior comics veteran among them, with many new hires coming from a background in WB Home Video.
Over the last few months, the sales and marketing team has been tinkered with. Although no one would call it a “reorganization,” sales and marketing have once again been combined under John Cunningham, whose new title is SVP Sales and Marketing.
He replaces Derek Maddalena in the role, who has left DC,
along with Dan Miron, who held the title of VP – Sales Planning & Trade Development. Dan Miron has a new title, Director, Sales Planning & Reporting. Carol Roeder, who was formerly VP of marketing, left about a month ago. All three had experience mostly outside of the comics industry. While this can lead to vital new ideas, it’s also a steep learning curve for some.
Cunningham, by contrast is a 10-year DC veteran who in his role as VP of marketing was largely responsible for the massive roll-out of the Watchmen trade when the movie came out, and other success stories. Although his new position is a little Spinal Tap drummer – the last three people who held it have all been let go – insiders say Cunningham is the best person for the job and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role.
Taken together, the moves are “a win for publishing,” as one senior DC exec told me.
Other promotions include Jamie Rich to Group Editor at Vertigo and Marie Javins as Group Editor of Special Projects (including Hanna-Barbera). NOT the other way around as many “reported.” Forgivable mistake given the fog of con and all that. They are both much liked veterans who have up-to-the-minute rolodexes of creators, and the freshening list of talent under their watch has already been seen.
All in all, strong moves that have left most breathing a little easier about DC’s path in the direct market and beyond.
For those of you playing at home, here’s an updated DC masthead:
• Bob Harras: Senior VP – Editor-in-Chief, DC Comics
• Diane Nelson: President
• Dan DiDio and Jim Lee: Co-Publishers
• Geoff Johns: President & Chief Creative Officer
• Amit Desai: EVP, Business & Marketing Strategy, Direct to Consumer and Global Franchise Management
• Nairi Gardiner: Senior VP – Finance (moved over to Consumer Products fulltime)
• Sam Ades: SVP – Direct to Consumer
• Bobbie Chase: VP – Talent Development
• Mark Chiarello: Senior VP – Art, Design & Collected Editions
• John Cunningham: SVP, Sales & Trade Marketing VP – Content Strategy
• Anne DePies: SVP, Business Strategy, Finance and Administration
• Don Falletti: VP – Manufacturing Operations
• Lawrence Ganem: VP – Editorial Administration & Talent Relations
• Alison Gill: Senior VP – Manufacturing & Operations
• Hank Kanalz: Senior VP – Editorial Strategy & Administration
• Jay Kogan: VP – Legal Affairs
• Derek Maddalena: Senior VP – Sales & Business Development
• Dan Miron:
VP – Sales Planning & Trade Development Director, Sales Planning & Reporting
• Nick Napolitano: VP – Manufacturing Administration
• Carol Roeder: VP – Marketing
• Eddie Scannell: VP – Consumer Marketing
• Susan Sheppard: VP – Business Affairs
• Courtney Simmons: Senior VP – Publicity & Communications
• Jim (Ski) Sokolowski: VP – Comic Book Specialty
& Newsstand Sales Trade Marketing
• Jack Mahan – VP – Business Affairs
• Sandy Yi – VP, Global Franchise Management
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.