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Ross puts on top hat at Fox L&M

Prexy to oversee U.K. arm

Steven M. Ross, executive vice president and general manager of 20th Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising, has been upped to president of the division within Fox Consumer Products.

Ross will continue to report to Patricia Wyatt, prexy of Fox Consumer Products, who made the announcement Wednesday. Ross fills the post last held by Wyatt, but which has been vacant since she was upped to her present job a year ago.

In his new post, Ross will oversee the worldwide licensing and merchandising planning and promotional operations for properties stemming from the Fox Entertainment Group, which includes Fox Filmed Entertainment, 20th TV, Fox Broadcasting Co. and Fox Sports.

He also has direct supervision over Fox L&M’s office in the U.K., as well as the 25 international sales agents, who represent Fox in various foreign territories.

Falling within Ross’ domain will be management of brand marketing and creative services, product placement, sales and retail account management, legal and business affairs, and administration.

He also will supervise the Fox Studio Stores, the first of which is based on Fox’s Century City lot, with a second planned for Fox Studios Australia. While Fox is not likely to join Disney and Warner Bros. in establishing retail stores for its merchandise, the company is planning a major expansion of the volume of products it supplies to the retail market. Fox also is looking at opening a studio store at its production facility in Baja, Mexico.

After what the company calls an enormously successful launch of its “lifestyle campaigns,” clothing lines that included an “Ally McBeal” lounge wear collection at Bloomingdale’s stores and a “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” prom collection at Nordstrom stores, Fox L&M is planning to launch a line of men’s casual clothing stemming from Fox Sports.

The division is also embarking on major merchandising campaigns for Fox’s new animated series “Futurama” and “The Family Guy.”

Ross has worked at the Fox licensing division in various exec posts since 1989, during which time he has been involved in promotional campaigns for such features as Fox Animation’s debut film, “Anastasia” in 1997.

“Steve continues to prove himself to be one of Fox’s most creative and adaptable senior executives,” said Wyatt in a statement.

Ross was upped to exec VP and general manager of Fox L&M last May.

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