GameWorks co-founder joins Netcaster, Ryan named CFO
Making its first major exec appointment since launching in February, Netcaster IFilm has tapped location-based entertainment vet Skip Paul as co-chairman and CEO.In other moves, Goldman Sachs veep Charlie Ryan has been tapped chief financial officer of the San Francisco-based company, while CNET founder Kevin Wendle has become vice chairman of the board of directors and GeoCities founder David Bohnett a special advisor. The appointments are expected to boost IFilm’s position in Hollywood and lend it credibility as it tries to position itself as a serious player in what’s becoming a crowded Netcasting arena. “IFilm delivers the unbridled power of the Internet as a vehicle for filmmakers to share their films with the public,” Paul said. “Our business is incremental to the well-established film distribution and exhibition industries, and I will look forward to working with many old friends in Hollywood, as well as the new ones at IFilm.” The decision to hand Paul the reins of the company is unusual considering that most of his experience has revolved around vidgames and theme parks as well as GameWorks’ melding of high-tech recreational activities with casual diversions like pool and dining. Paul has built a career around location-based entertainment businesses, acting as prexy of MCA Enterprises and Atari. Most recently, he co-founded Sega GameWorks, serving as chairman and CEO of the joint venture between Universal, DreamWorks and Sega. But Paul brings to IFilm his connections from working at Universal. Steven Spielberg, for example, is also an investor in GameWorks. Even in the new post, Paul will remain chairman of GameWorks and work closely with newly appointed prexy and CEO Ron Bension. At Atari, Paul was instrumental in building the company’s coin-operated games franchise. At MCA, he was exec VP and a director of the entertainment giant, playing a role in the development and management of Universal Studios theme parks and Cineplex Odeon Cinemas. “Skip’s partnerships with DreamWorks, MCA/Universal, Sega and Atari tell the story,” said IFilm founder Rodger Raderman, who will remain co-chair of the company. “He’s been there. That experience will be invaluable. With Skip as a partner, I am utterly confident that not only will IFilm exceed all expectations as a business, but that it will remain true to the core, artist-enabling vision that has brought the company this far.” Wendle helped launch the Fox Broadcasting Co. as exec VP before founding online computer news outfit CNET and co-founding E! Online. At Goldman Sachs, Ryan founded the information technology/Internet health care group and acted as the company’s lead banker for online health information site Healtheon’s IPO. He was also in the mergers and acquisitions group at Morgan Stanley.