Exec lifted to senior VP gig

Michael Peikoff has been promoted to senior VP for 20th Century Fox’s licensing and merchandising division.

Appointment comes as the company’s preeminent media property, “The Simpsons,” takes on renewed merchandising elan via the release of its eponymous movie. Peikoff reports to Elie Dekel, exec VP of the unit.

With more than 20 years of entertainment licensing, marketing, business development and communications experience, Peikoff will now manage all internal and external communications for the licensing division as well as oversee the company’s retail marketing and licensed promotions initiatives in the U.S.

Peikoff told Daily Variety that in his role, he will be initially focused on expanding Fox’s presence at retail, particularly at Wal-Mart and Target; developing more initiatives for the company’s marquee TV franchises; and leveraging the Fox Sports brand.

In addition, there’s a whole new round of licensing and merchandising opportunities for the upcoming season of “The Simpsons” as well as for fledgling shows like “Don’t Forget the Lyrics,” for which Fox is in discussions with key toy and game partners.

“Michael’s insight, strong relationships and tenacity have helped propel licensing programs for ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Family Guy’ and ‘Napoleon Dynamite,’ among others, while also helping to launch new business development initiatives,” Dekel said.

As a result of Peikoff’s promotion, VP of retail marketing Jeff Shapiro and VP of worldwide promotion Howard Nelson will report directly to him.

Since joining the Fox unit in October 2005, Peikoff has played an instrumental role in furthering both the revenue and licensee base for such brands as “The Simpsons,” “24” and the “Alien” franchise as well as archival intellectual properties from “MASH” to “The Princess Bride.”

Also under Peikoff’s aegis, Fox Sports inked with 15 licensees, from apparel to toys, publishing to recreation equipment.

Peikoff’s entertainment experience has included key stints at several major studios, including Sony and Warner Bros.

Peikoff started out as a member of the original marketing team that helped launch Fox Broadcasting with series “21 Jump Street” and “Married… With Children” as well as “The Simpsons.”

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