Studio vet named senior VP of franchise mgmt.

Warner Bros. has promoted veteran exec Amit Desai to a newly created post as senior VP of franchise management for DC Entertainment.

Move, announced Friday, is the latest in Warner’s efforts to turn the DC comicbook brand — and its massive library of iconic superheroes — into a major player for the studio.

Desai, who’s been working at Warner Home Video, will develop and implement the individual franchise plans for Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and the Flash along with Mad magazine, Vertigo titles and other DC properties. “This will include driving wider cross-promotional support across all Time Warner divisions,” the announcement noted.

Warner took over control of DC Comics and renamed it DC Entertainment in September 2009 as a way to better exploit its stable of properties across various platforms from movies and TV shows to videogames and mobile offerings. It announced three months ago that it was moving much of the company from Gotham to studio headquarters in Burbank.

Desai will be based in Burbank and report to John Rood, exec VP of sales, marketing and business development. “Amit is coming to DC Entertainment with a proven track record in building brands both inside and outside Warner Bros.,” said Rood. “That he’s already well versed in our characters and brands from his experience working on the DC Universe animation business is an added bonus.”

Desai joined Warners in 2004 and is credited with growing nontheatrical family and animation homevideo revenue by 45%. He oversaw the launch of new franchises such as DC Universe, a series of animated original movies inspired by DC Comics graphic novels.

Prior to joining Warner Bros., Desai worked for Disney in brand management and marketing/synergy activities for feature films.

Warner Bros. is prepping “Green Lantern,” with Ryan Reynolds starring as the ringed hero, for release next summer., and it’s already dated the next Batman pic, to be directed by Christopher Nolan, for release on July 20, 2012. Two films based on DC properties — “Jonah Hex” and “The Losers” — underperformed earlier this year.

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