Hoping to put the right spin on the headlines, Michael Ovitz has hired a new public relations executive for his latest endeavor, a high-profile consortium of entertainment and tech companies led by talent agency upstart Artist Management Group.
As newly appointed managing director of communications and strategic direction, Michael Burns has as his first order of business the task of garnering favorable publicity for the business model of CKE RV and the four media ventures it controls.
"It's vintage Michael Ovitz," Burns explained. Instead of seeking to entirely dominate one field like talent management, the goal is to carve out a new entertainment niche by housing talent management and production and technology resources under one umbrella.
The CKE RV group consists of Artist Management Group (AMG) along with a film production company, television production arm, and a tech management, investment and consulting unit called Lynx.
Burns says the resulting convergence of entertainment and new media will offer AMG's roster of top talent which includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Crichton and Pete Sampras increased crossover opportunities in TV, film and other media.
Burns is charged with crafting unique media relations strategies for each of the divisions, which are essentially start-up companies bolstered by the powerful backing of Ovitz's money and name.
"It's a tremendous challenge to find the right media to reach all the potential clients and partners," said Burns.
So, the strategies will vary. He plans to target trade publications like Variety for AMG and the production companies, but says Lynx will require a different approach since its target audience is more tech-oriented. Burns intends to cultivate contacts as new trade publications, such as Industry Standard, continue to open bureaus in Los Angeles.
Burns was most recently market and practice leader of public affairs at the Los Angeles office of Burson-Marsteller.
Jennifer SmithAdvertising & P.R.
Lori Cloud was appointed vice president of entertainment marketing at Bragman Nyman Cafarelli in Los Angeles. She will be responsible for bringing entertainment properties and corporate clients together in joint strategic branding, publicity, product placement and promotions efforts. Cloud was most recently vice president of entertainment marketing at Frankel in Chicago.Associations
Lawrence Williamson was named manager of economic development at the Los Angeles Downtown Center Business Improvement District. He will lead efforts to attract technology firms to the area and will work with property owners, developers and real estate brokers to encourage the conversion of older buildings into residential units.Banking & Finance
Heng Chen was promoted to executive vice president of finance at City National Bank in Los Angeles. He will oversee asset liability, budget and income tax areas for the bank. Chen was most recently senior vice president of finance. Also, Bob Patterson was promoted to executive vice president of the bank's Ventura County and San Fernando Valley regions. He will oversee commercial banking centers as well as the national agribusiness unit and specialty deposits department. Patterson was previously a regional senior vice president.
Gerald I. Clebanoff was appointed senior vice president and portfolio manager at U.S. Trust Co.'s Los Angeles office. He will be responsible for managing client portfolios and business development in the high-net-worth market. Clebanoff was previously chief investment officer and chairman of the trust investment committee at City National Bank. Also, Steven P. Volk was named vice president and senior trust officer. He will be responsible for managing personal trust and estate relationships, and developing wealth management business in the Los Angeles area. Volk was formerly vice president and senior trust officer at City National Bank in Beverly Hills.
Chris DiMauro was appointed vice president at Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, a Los Angeles-based investment bank. He will be responsible for financial restructuring, merger, acquisition and corporate financing services. DiMauro was previously a senior high-yield analyst at SunAmerica Investments.
Brian Kaufman was named managing director of the digital media group at Digital Coast Partners in Santa Monica. He will oversee emerging technology assessment, venture planning services and financing for early-and later-stage ventures in broadband content, interactive television, content delivery networks and infrastructure development. Kaufman was most recently principal at Imperial Capital in Beverly Hills.
William D. Snyder was promoted to senior vice president and manager of the international department at Sanwa Bank California in Los Angeles. He will direct financial services strategies for companies and institutions. Snyder was formerly vice president and manager of international trade finance for the bank.Engineering
J. Zachary Bedford was appointed president of the infrastructure group at Dean Ryan Consultants & Designers in Los Angeles. He specializes in project management and planning. Bedford was previously a consultant responsible for the planning, design and construction of the U.S. Pentagon renovation program.Entertainment
Leo Chu was promoted to vice president of creative affairs at Walt Disney Feature Animation in Burbank. He will be responsible for developing animated features generated at the California, Florida and Paris studios. Chu was previously director of creative affairs.
Paul Eskenazi was promoted to senior vice president of worldwide corporate development at Jim Henson Co. in Los Angeles. He will oversee integration efforts following acquisition of the company by EM TV & Merchandising AG. Eskenazi was previously vice president of strategic planning.
Jerry Jameson was promoted to senior vice president at Twentieth Television in Los Angeles. He will be responsible for national sales. Jameson was previously vice president and western region manager.
Senn Moses was named executive vice president of marketing at Fox Broadcasting Co. in Los Angeles. He will oversee all marketing efforts, including on-air promotion, print advertising, national media, affiliate and national promotion, and publicity and creative services. Moses was previously senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Columbia Pictures.
Cami Winikoff was promoted to chief operating officer at Trimark Pictures in Marina del Rey. She will oversee all operational aspects of the company and will continue to sit on the board of directors for Trimark subsidiary CinemaNow.com. Winikoff was previously executive vice president and chief administrative officer.Government
William Burke was appointed to the California Air Resources Board by Gov. Gray Davis. He will represent residents of the South Coast Air Quality Management District at the state level. Burke was previously governing board chairman for the district.Health Care
Nancy J. Lee was promoted to chief operating officer for Daniel Freeman hospitals in Inglewood and Marina del Rey. She will oversee business operations for both hospitals. Lee was most recently chief nursing officer.High Tech
Manny Gonzalez was appointed president of E-Latin Business Group, a Latin American Internet incubator based in Culver City. He will be responsible for driving the company's growth and development. Gonzalez was formerly national brand manager for Miller Genuine Draft.
Lisa Sussman was named vice president of sales at the Los Angeles office of Nextlink Communications, a provider of broadband communication services. She will be responsible for sales revenue, sales support and distribution channels for the Los Angeles and Orange County markets. Sussman was formerly director of sales for the Southern California region of AT & T.;Insurance
William F. Mitchell was named executive vice president at James Econn & Co. in Los Angeles. He will be responsible for forming strategic alliances and expanding the company's presence throughout California. Mitchell was formerly senior vice president with the Chubb Group of Insurance Cos.Law
Robert Goldschein, Henry Y. Ota and Charles Schwenck were named partners at Kelley Drye & Warren in Los Angeles. Goldschein concentrates on commercial finance and corporate banking and was formerly with Katten Muchin Zavis. Ota is co-chair of the firm's Asia practice group and was most recently a partner with Pillsbury Madison & Sutro. Schwenck represents energy, telecommunications and transportation developers on project financing and development matters, and was previously a partner at Morrison & Foerster. Also, Steven K. Hazen and Marlo S. Oliver were named of counsel and special counsel, respectively. Hazen focuses on mergers and acquisitions and was previously at Mayer Brown & Platt. Oliver is a member of the telecommunications practice group and was most recently general counsel for NOS Communications.Manufacturing
Robert A. Eckert was appointed chairman and chief executive at Mattel in El Segundo. He will be responsible for all operations and management. Eckert was previously president and chief executive at Kraft Foods.Media
Jeffrey M. Johnson was named senior vice president and general manager of the Los Angeles Times. He will be responsible for production, regional operations, distribution, and technology and systems.
Kit Rachlis was appointed editor in chief of Los Angeles magazine. He will oversee all editorial activities. Rachlis was most recently a senior projects editor at the Los Angeles Times and has served as editor in chief at L.A. Weekly.New Media
Neil Blatt was appointed executive vice president of FilmStew.com, a Culver City-based Web portal for film and TV professionals. He will be responsible for all distribution and exhibition aspects of the site, as well as the virtual film market and product services portions. Blatt was previously executive vice president and head of domestic distribution at Miramax Films.
Paul Mattoon was appointed chief financial officer at Entertainment Boulevard, a Los Angeles-based provider of streaming media for the Internet. He will be responsible for all financial matters. Mattoon was most recently in charge of acquisitions for R & B; Realty Group in Los Angeles.
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