Kounelias comes to Participant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, where she was the first-ever chief marketing officer. While there, she oversaw marketing, communications and digital media for the organization’s global initiatives including the Oscars, Academy Museum and a year-round slate of programming.
The announcement was made Thursday by Participant founder and chairman Jeff Skoll and CEO David Linde. Kounelias will report to Linde.
Kounelias will lead Participant’s global strategy for all marketing and communications efforts. She will be responsible for shaping Participant’s narrative on social media and oversee creative marketing efforts for film, media and promotions, corporate communications, events, audience engagement and research.
She will be based out of Participant’s offices beginning March 28.
“Christina is a talented strategist and is well regarded within the industry for her creativity and proven track record of success across studios and institutions,” said Linde. “We couldn’t be happier that an executive of her caliber is joining Participant at such a dynamic moment for the company.”
Prior to working for the Academy, Kounelias held senior marketing and communications posts at Warner Bros., New Line, Fox Broadcasting and Miramax,
“Participant is an incredible force in entertainment with a mission that pairs compelling content with positive social impact,” said Kounelias. “I’m honored and excited to work with Jeff, David and the Participant team to bring impact to life, and activate our own storytelling with memorable and lasting campaigns.”
On Thursday, AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson tweeted, “So excited for Christina Kounelias in her new role @ Participant — they’re lucky to have her.”
Kounelias told Variety that she had not been seeking a new post when Linde approached her about the Participant slot.
“What they have been doing with combining content with a social impact is extraordinary,” she said. “Nobody else does what they’ve been doing.”
Kounelias also said she was particularly pleased about the increased social media presence for the Academy during her tenure.
“We built an extraordinary team and really increased our branding,” she noted. “We went from 400,000 followers to 9.2 million in four years and greatly increased awareness of our resources and programming.”