Sumner will lead strategy and business development for Refinery29, a digital-media company focused on female audiences. He will focus on the company’s live-events business, including the 29Rooms festivals, as well as expanding distribution for R29’s video content including Refinery29’s forthcoming over-the-top channel, which has been slated to launch in the fourth quarter.
Sumner, based out of Refinery29’s L.A. office, reports directly to chief operating officer Sarah Personette (Facebook’s former head of global business marketing who joined R29 last fall).
“Chris is a strategic thinker and a brilliant leader with a proven track record in building teams that are curious, nimble and compassionate towards each other and their partners,” Personette said in a statement. “As Refinery29 continues to scale and develop new revenue streams, Chris’s deep expertise in the entertainment space will be invaluable as we expand our video and direct to consumer offerings, creating meaningful experiences for young women wherever they are spending time.”
Most recently, Sumner led business development and operations at Live Nation’s Greenlight creative agency and production studio. During his two-and-a-half-year stint at Live Nation, he also oversaw the company’s original content venture with Vice Media — Live Nation TV — and helped build Live Nation’s film and TV business.
Prior to joining Live Nation in early 2016, Sumner held a variety of senior corporate and business development roles at Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music and the Chernin Group. He started his career as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. based in the U.K.
Refinery29 claims to have an aggregate global audience of 425 million across all platforms, and says watch time of its video on YouTube has increased fourfold in the past year. Investors in the New York-based company, founded in 2005, include Turner, Scripps Networks Interactive (now part of Discovery) and WPP Ventures.
Last month, Refinery29 announced its entry into feature films, under a pact with Neon to acquire and distribute indie films.