He will replace current CFO Lew Coleman, who has taken on the role of vice chairman and has been tasked with helping the company grow its brand globally.
Merchant boasts a background in the satellite TV and banking sectors, and comes to DreamWorks Animation from DirecTV, where he was most recently SVP and CFO of DirectTV Latin America.
He joins DreamWorks Animation as the studio is attempting to diversify its business beyond animated film, venturing into television, consumer products and online video through its recent purchase of AwesomenessTV.
Though it scored a $535.5 million hit with “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” the company was forced to take writedowns on such recent films as “Rise of the Guardians” and “Turbo.” One of those, a $13.5 million writedown it took on “Turbo,” prompted an investigation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Prior to joining DirecTV in July 2012, Merchant was managing director and group head at the Royal Bank of Scotland and was a managing director in the Investment Banking Division of Barclays Capital. He also spent nine years at Ford Motor Company.
Merchant will start his new post on September 15, 2014.