Blockbuster signs on Hilmer as senior veep

Blockbuster Entertainment Corp. yesterday tapped James L. Hilmer as its senior VP and chief marketing officer, continuing its recent corporate reorganization.

Hilmer, 48, was formerly a managing partner at corporate marketer Whittle Communications, based in Knoxville, Tenn.

He will oversee the marketing plans for the company’s recently-enacted reorganization into six divisions, which include separate divisions for domestic and international homevideo, domestic and international music retailing, new technology ventures and a special category for other ventures.

Blockbuster Entertainment is the holding corporation for these divisions.

Blockbuster’s corporate reorganization has seen president Joseph R. Baczko resign (Daily Variety, Jan. 5).

Vice chairman Steven R. Berrard has assumed Baczko’s responsibilities on an interim basis while the company searches for a new president.

Thomas Gruber last held the title Hilmer assumes. But Gruber’s responsibilities were limited to homevideo, the company’s main business at that time. He remains with the company as a senior VP.

Blockbuster has since acquired several large music and video retailers, and formed a joint venture with Virgin Group to launch an aggressive expansion of the Virgin Megastore chain in the United States, Europe and Australia.

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