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Executive shuffle at L.A. Studios

L.A. Studios Inc., parent company of L.A. Studios and Margarita Mix, is shuffling its upper ranks … again.

Aric Ackerman has been tapped CEO, reporting to the board of directors. He will be responsible for the overall management and growth of the company’s audio post-production facilities. The former COO for @radical.media replaces former chief exec Jesse Meli, who will continue as president emeritus, consulting on business development opportunities.

Adding to the creative mix, award-winning dialogue director Jamie Thomason, whose credits include the Oscar-winning animated feature “Spirited Away,” has opened an office at L.A. Studios, creating a strategic alliance fostered by Meli.

Thomason is credited with creating the casting division for Walt Disney Television Animation in addition to work on more than 40 animated films and about 2,000 episodes of animated television, winning an Emmy for Disney’s “Teacher’s Pet.” Thomason earned Emmy nominations as the former head of casting and dialogue director of DisneyToon Studios.

“Working with an industry expert like Jamie in our office at L.A. Studios represents a unique opportunity for the company,” Ackerman said. Thomason’s casting and dialogue directing services will, for the first time, be available to all L.A. Studios clients.

L.A. Studios, founded 27 years ago by jingle writers and now the largest employee-owned audio post-production company in the country, appoints a new chief exec every nine years. Company credits much of its success to this CEO term-limit approach and employee shareholder input.

According to Meli, 51% of the company’s equity goes into trust at year’s end. “No one leaves the company by choice,” Meli added.

Ackerman plans to expand into emerging entertainment markets.

Company clients include DreamWorks, Disney, Paramount, Electronic Arts, ESPN, Lucas Arts, MTV and Sony, plus advertising agencies such as TBWAChiatDay, Campbell Mithun and Ogilvy & Mather.

Thomason, whose studio is located at the company’s Universal City location, is working as the dialogue director for animated feature “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3.”

L.A. Studios has done audio post-production on pics including “Shrek 2,” “Madagascar,” “Over the Hedge” and “Flushed Away” and DVD bonus features for “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Mission: Impossible 3,” “An Inconvenient Truth” and “The Da Vinci Code.” It also works on commercials, awards shows and videogames.

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