Former Disney exec Roberts to oversee ops

Michael Roberts, who ankled his senior veep post at Walt Disney Pictures in May, has been tapped exec veep of Web business creator KPE.

In his new position, Roberts will oversee all aspects of KPE’s new L.A. ventures, including the company’s inhouse business, finance, design and technology groups, with the intent of launching new interactive entertainment ventures. He also will be in charge of newly created pic production arm KPE Films.

Planned expansion

KPE is hoping to expand the office from its current staff of eight to 100 next year.

Roberts will report directly to KPE CEO Mark Patricof, a former exec at Creative Artists Agency.

“(Roberts’) combination of creative expertise, production experience and business acumen is a strong asset to our firm,” Patricof said.

Prior to KPE, Roberts spent 10 years at Disney, ultimately becoming senior VP in its motion picture group. He was also a VP at Weintraub Entertainment Group and a creative exec at Paramount Pictures.

“I was particularly drawn to KPE because of its exclusive focus on strategically building media and entertainment businesses from the ground up,” Roberts told Daily Variety.

New funding for Web

KPE also announced this week that it has generated $21.5 million in capital from investors Wasserstein Adelson Ventures, Clarion Capital Partners, Grey Advertising, KPE Management and several other private groups.

The company said it will use the funds to expand its portfolio of investments in Web ventures, make acquisitions and expand its core operations in New York, L.A. and London. KPE plans to help launch 30 new entertainment and media sites next year.

The company, founded in 1996, has helped design and launch several Web sites for ABC and Showtime, among others.

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