Genius Brands International has promoted Stone Newman to President of Global Consumer Products, Worldwide Content Sales & Marketing. This expansion of the executive’s purview was announced by Chairman & CEO Andy Heyward, to whom Newman continues to report. Newman joined GBI in 2014 as President of Global Consumer Products.
In his new role, Newman will take on oversight of GBI’s content distribution business for its catalog of animated properties, including SpacePOP, Llama Llama, Baby Genius, Secret Millionaires Club and Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab, as well as a new preschool title currently in development. Newman will also manage the worldwide rollout of adult-targeted animated series Stan Lee’s Cosmic Crusaders, which launched during Comic-Con this year. He will continue overseeing licensing, merchandising, retail and marketing efforts, including appointing and managing licensing agencies in key markets worldwide.
Supporting Newman in his expanded responsibilities, Jo Kavanagh-Payne has joined GBI as Senior Vice President of Global Distribution, spearheading the company’s worldwide content sales. Kavanagh-Payne is tasked with driving GBI’s distribution business, identifying potential co-production partners and advising on the development of new and acquired properties for international and domestic distribution. She will also continue to serve as CEO of Foothill Entertainment, which she co-founded with her husband Gregory Payne in 2000.
Prior to starting Foothill, Kavanagh-Payne worked in international content distribution for 16 years, handling all facets of sales as well as acquisitions and strategic planning for kids and family programming. Originally based in London, she moved to L.A. in 1995 to establish and supervise the U.S. office for Link Entertainment.
Newman joined GBI two years ago from Art + Science International, a boutique licensing agency he founded. An accomplished entrepreneur, he also founded Sababa Toys and built the startup into a $30 million toy and game manufacturer with product present in more than 50,000 stores. He also worked in marketing and licensing at Hasbro Toys.
Stone Newman / Jo Kavanagh-Payne