Brandt has been with the San Diego-based Dr. Seuss Enterprises for 24 years, most recently serving as president. 2021 marked the company’s highest revenue-generating year since its founding in 1993. Brandt is credited with expanding the company’s reach and helping to keep Seuss characters relevant to contemporary kids and their parents through partnerships, including notable ventures with Netflix, Warner Bros., PBS and Universal Studios through the Seuss Landing installation at the Islands of Adventure theme park in Florida.
Dr. Seuss was the pen name of children’s book author and artist Theodor Geisel, who died at age 87 in 1991. Dr. Seuss Enterprises was established by his widow, Audrey Geisel, who died in 2017. Dr. Seuss Enterprises is now owned by a private foundation. Although it runs as a for-profit venture, all of the profits are donated to a number of charitable organizations, including the San Diego Zoo and the city’s The Old Globe theater.
“It has been my distinct pleasure to work with Susan Brandt over the last twenty years, so I am delighted that the Geisel-Seuss Enterprises board of directors has decided to promote her to CEO,” said Brian E.C. Schottlaender, chair of the GSE Board. “Over the years, Susan has put her heart and soul into Dr. Seuss Enterprises, and under her leadership, the company has expanded into new markets and expanded its suite of products. We look forward to working with Susan to realize the myriad opportunities before us, while promoting our core values of literacy, education and instilling confidence and creativity in children.”
Brandt told Variety that Dr. Seuss Enterprises is most definitely not for sale despite the feverish demand these days for well-established IP. Dr. Seuss creations such as “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “Horton Hears a Who,” “The Lorax” and many other titles would likely fetch a high price from any number of suitors. But Brandt is clear: Her mission as CEO is to keep the company healthy and growing with content and consumer products that reflect the underlying spirit of curiosity, creativity, learning, acceptance and wonder that is infused in Dr. Seuss’ writing.
“My job is to protect the integrity, the DNA of the underlying work while taking it and transforming it for new and different mediums,” Brandt told Variety. “How do you do that? You only work with the best of the best. Find best-in-class partners and work as a true collaboration.”
Brandt pointed to Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ three-movie deal with Warner Bros. Animation as an example of expanding the boundaries of the Seuss world with key creative partners such as director Jon M. Chu and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot on a movie adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” Also coming soon is Season 2 of Netflix’s “Green Eggs and Ham” animated series. Seuss Enterprises also produces the children’s series “The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That” for PBS.
Dr. Seuss’ colorful creations are headed for the NFT market through a partnership with Dapper Labs. Many more projects for film, TV and digital are in the works, Brandt said. Dr. Seuss probably has a big enough brand to support a niche streaming service (or imprint on a larger platform) but Brandt is not rushing in.
“Don’t count us out of anything, we are continually looking and streaming services are certainly interesting,” she said. “We’ll watch the space for a while.”
Before joining Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Brandt worked as an home video executive for 20th Century Fox in the U.S. and in Hong Kong.