The four new hires are Wenny Katzenstein, VP of marketing strategy; TJ Walker, VP of creative; Beth Kawasaki, executive director, brand management; and Anna Songco Adamian, VP, licensing and merchandising. They will divide their time between Funimation’s Flower Mound, Texas, headquarters and its offices on Sony Pictures Studio’s lot in Culver City, Calif.
Katzenstein, in the newly created role of VP of marketing strategy, will oversee Funimation-specific brand campaigns. Most recently she was at NBCUniversal Media as director, marketing strategy and analytics and, prior to that worked for 20 years at the Walt Disney Co. on brands including Disney, Star Wars and Marvel.
Walker has been formally named VP of creative, after serving as interim creative director for the past three months. Previously, he was creative director at Hulu and before that senior VP of digital at Trailer Park.
Kawasaki, as executive director of brand management, will oversee brand management and work closely with licensors. An anime industry veteran, she most recently served as senior director, brand and project management at Loot Crate and held a variety of roles in over 10 years at anime distributor Viz Media.
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Adamian most recently was executive director, global franchise management at Warner Bros.’ DC, managing franchises including Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, and Teen Titans Go. She previously held licensing and brand management roles at Warner Bros. and Mattel respectively.
Funimation is led by general manager Colin Decker, who joined the company from rival Crunchyroll this past May. Under SPT’s ownership, Funimation has expanded its global footprint: In May, it acquired the U.K.’s Manga Entertainment. In September, Sony consolidated Funimation’s business with the French and Australian anime divisions of Sony Music Entertainment Japan’s Aniplex (Wakanim in France and Madman Anime Group in Australia).
“As Funimation continues to grow and expand globally, these hires, along with our strong team that is already in place, underscore our commitment to best-in-class brand-building for our partners and fans of anime around the world,” Decker said in a statement. “Anna, Beth, TJ, and Wenny bring a lot of depth to our company and I’m very excited to see what they do with our brands.”
Sony Pictures Television bought a controlling stake in Funimation in 2017 for $143 million. A year ago, Funimation and Crunchyroll — which is part of WarnerMedia’s Otter Media — ended their previous cross-licensing pact.