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Universal Brand Development appoints five veterans to manage its consumer products in EMEA countries

As the company grows its consumer products business and expands the studio’s global franchises including Jurassic World, The Secret Life of Pets and Despicable Me, Universal Brand Development continues to make big moves.

The company has recently appointed five country directors to lead its consumer products business in select territories across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

While Kathrin Brandhorst was named country director for Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Virginie Kleinclaus will take on the role of country director for France. Karen Argos will serve as the country director in Iberia and Mariella Almasio is Italy’s new country director. Jean-Francois Auquier rounds out the appointments as the new country director for Benelux.

The team will report to Jonathan Baker, VP EMEA consumer products.

Based in Munich, Brandhorst will be responsible for driving growth and leading the consumer products team in her territory. She will also work with the company’s Germany agent, Super RTL, which is responsible for the DreamWorks portfolio. Previously, Brandhorst was responsible for the DreamWorks Consumer Products business in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Nordics.

On the other hand, Kleinclaus will lead strategic direction for the French region. Most recently she had served as managing director at CPLG France. She also spent nearly 20 years with Disney Consumer Products where she held a variety of senior positions including retail and marketing director for major retailers in France and Benelux.

Before being named country director for Iberia, Spain and Portugal, Karen Argos was responsible for the softlines division at Disney Iberia.

Mariella Almasio, the new country director for Italy, earlier served in various positions within Disney Consumer Products in Milan. With Disney, Almasio contributed to the business growth of the fashion and home lines.

Benelux country director Auquier was most recently responsible for managing DreamWorks agents in France and Benelux for DreamWorks Consumer Products. He has also held a number of positions at Disney Consumer Products, working across Benelux, the UK and Italy.

These appointments come just a day after Universal Brand Development unveiled a new leadership team charged with expanded its strategic focus on gaming, including self-published titles, based on its IPs.

The company’s self-publishing efforts will initially focus on mobile, with gaming apps set to launch later this year before expanding to other platforms.



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