Stephen Gould, Co Managing Director, 4Kids Entertainment
His active role in licensing industry activities, his 22 years experience in the business and the fact he’s never short of a comment or two on pretty much any subject, has endeared Gould to Licensing.biz, as well as the rest of the UK licensing community.
Before arriving at 4Kids – where he is one of three co managing directors (his own remit being UK/Eire sales and marketing and acquisitions for 4Kids Entertainment International) – Gould was MD for child-centric family marketing consultancy Kids Industries, and prior to that MD at Active Licensing Europe (formerly Saban Consumer Products) with Fox Kids Europe. He has also been a senior licensing executive at Hit Entertainment.
During his career, Gould has spent 12 years specialising in direct licensing. He has been responsible for the sales, promotions, marketing and advertising for a host of properties including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, The Dog, Royal Air Force, Microsoft Xbox, Power Rangers, Casper, Viva Piñata, Pocoyo and Art Attack to name just a few.
Gould is also a committee member of The Light Fund – the licensing industry charity – and in May he will be part of a team swimming around Malta, Gozo and Comino, clocking up 30km over five days in aid of the charity.
Peter Byrne, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Consumer Products, Hit Entertainment
Byrne has over 20 years of experience in both licensing and consumer products and the wide array of firms he has worked for stands him in good stead to comment on a number of areas for Licensing.biz.
Prior to joining Hit, Byrne spent four years as executive VP of 20th Century Fox’s global licensing and merchandising division, overseeing both the television and film roster for consumer products. Based over in the US, during his time there Byrne oversaw the firm’s largest theatrical merchandise campaign in support of Robots, as well as the US relaunch of The Simpsons.
Byrne originally joined Fox in 1997 as MD Europe, launching the firm’s European licensing operations and then expanding its reach to include all other international territories. He has also held positions at Sara Lee Corporation (VP Northern Europe), Fruit of the Loom (MD Germany and marketing director Europe), as well as a number of senior sales and marketing positions in the toy industry with both Kenner and Matchbox.
His current remit at Hit includes being responsible for the firm’s worldwide licensing, promotions, brand and retail marketing and creative services businesses across franchises such as Bob the Builder, Barney, Thomas & Friends and Angelina Ballerina, while also being instrumental in Hit’s acquisition of girl’s publishing property Rainbow Magic. Byrne also handles the company’s live events strategy and its theme park ventures, including the recently launched Thomas Land in the UK.
Ian Downes, MD, Start Licensing
Downes established Start Licensing in 2004 to provide a bespoke licensing service to clients. These currently include Bang on the Door, Mattel for Polly Pocket, Cymru International for Hana’s Helpline and The National Gallery Company.
Prior to launching the company, Downes was group MD at Fox Kids Europe Consumer Products, overseeing the division’s activities domestically and internationally. This included the management of the Power Rangers licensing programme.
Outside of the properties he’s currently working with, Downes can also boast to have worked on the likes of Star Wars, the NSPCC and The X Files. Career successes include the development of an integrated licensing programme for The Beano, the creation of a best selling book programme for The X Files and introducing the Fox Kids brand into the licensing market. Prior to licensing, he worked in the publishing and advertising sectors.
So, what can he bring to the Licensing.biz Board? Well, Downes believes that his all round knowledge of licensing and his independent agent status gives him a great perspective on the marketplace. Key interests for him include new product development, innovation and the development of new business sectors in licensing.