Warner Bros. has parachuted one of its top interactive executives to the top post at multichannel network Machinima, with current CEO Chad Gutstein exiting.
Russell Arons will now lead the US-based digital channels operator, which is focused on video games, as general manager.
Gutstein will exit after a “multi-week” transition plan, after he is leaving to “pursue entrepreneurial projects”.
This comes four months after Time Warner-owned Warner Bros. took full control of Machinima, having previously been a key investor.
Following the deal, Machinima moved within the Warner Bros. Digital Networks Group that Craig Hunegs runs.
Arons was previously Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s senior VP of worldwide marketing, a role that she has been in since 2009. The post had him focused on building the unit into a key video games publisher.
She also worked at games publisher Electronic Arts and toyco Mattel.
Arons will now lead all of Machinima’s creative, marketing services, data analytics, business development and operations, as well as the MCN.
Former Ovation executive Gutstein has led Machinima since November 2013, when he replaced company founder and chairman Allen DeBevoise.
Hunegs, president of business and strategy at Warner Bros. Television Group and president of Warner Bros. Digital Networks, said: “He’s done a great job leading Machinima’s team as they’ve strengthened their creator network, improved audience engagement and launched a content studio. I know he’s eager to take on a new venture, and everyone at Warner Bros. wishes him great success.”
According to comScore stats from January, Machinima is the tenth-largest digital video entertainment firm in the US by total unique viewers, commanding around 3.8 billion monthly video views.
“Russell is a terrific creative executive with exceptional audience experience and brand building capabilities,” said Hunegs of the new chief. “With deep knowledge in gaming, she speaks the same language as our Machinima creators, community and team, and has the proven ability to build and unlock strong consumer relationships.
“In her new role, Russell will deepen Machinima’s relationship with an audience that’s important to many Warner Bros. divisions to further optimise our marketing and direct-to-consumer activities, and serve as a hub for social video across the company.”
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