Universal Brand Development Names Five Country Directors to Lead Consumer Products Business in EMEA Territories
Kathrin Brandhorst: Country Director, Germany, Switzerland and Austria
Virginie Kleinclaus: Country Director, France
Karen Argos: Country Director, Iberia
Mariella Almasio: Country Director, Italy
Jean-Francois Auquier: Country Director Benelux
LONDON, May 17,2017—In a strategic move to drive international growth and shift to direct management of its Consumer Products business in select EMEA territories, Universal Brand Development has appointed five industry veterans to its leadership team, it was announced today by Manuel Torres Port, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Consumer Products, Universal Brand Development. The key appointments are a part of a structural shift to aggressively grow Universal’s Consumer Products business abroad and expand the Studio’s global franchises. Kathrin Brandhorst, Virginie Kleinclaus, Karen Argos, Mariella Almasio, Jean-Francois Auquier join the previously announced, Hannah Mungo, as Country Directors for Universal Brand Development’s international regions, including Germany, France, Iberia, Italy, Benelux, the U.K. and Ireland, respectively. The newly formed team will report to Jonathan Baker, Vice President, EMEA Consumer Products, Universal Brand Development.
“Building a robust leadership team is a crucial element for our international group as we look to forge new opportunities for business expansion across Universal’s ever growing portfolio,” said Marc Low, Senior Vice President, International Consumer Products, Universal Brand Development. “We’re thrilled to welcome a strong team of seasoned experts as we form a more integrated approach for our EMEA territories and continue to establish the Universal brand as a global leader.”
Kathrin Brandhorst has been appointed as Country Director for Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Based in Munich, Brandhorst will be responsible for driving growth and leading the Consumer Products team within her territory, as well as serving Germany’s agent, Super RTL, responsible for the DreamWorks portfolio. Previously, she was responsible for the DreamWorks Consumer Products business in Germany, Switzerland and Austria as well as the Nordics. She also worked in various marketing and retail roles in the Consumer Products division of The Walt Disney Company, both in her home country of Germany as well as internationally.
Leading strategic direction for the French region, Virginie Kleinclaus has been appointed as Country Director France. Most recently, Virginie was Managing Director of CPLG France, one of the leading international brand licensing agencies. Virginie also spent nearly 20 years at the Walt Disney Company Consumer Products Division, where she held a variety of senior positions, including Director of Infant, Fashion and Home for France, as well as Retail and Marketing Director for major retailers in France and the Benelux. She also oversaw the global direct-to-retail sales development of Carrefour after starting her career as Business Development Manager across emerging markets.
In addition, Karen Argos has been named Country Director for Spain and Portugal, where she will spearhead the business unit in Iberia. Argos joins the team after 15 years at The Walt Disney Company Iberia, where she was responsible for the Softlines division. Prior to that, she held different roles at retail with Continente Spain (Carrefour) and L’Orèal Paris. Argos is based in Madrid.
Mariella Almasio has been appointed Country Director Italy. Almasio has extensive industry background, serving in various roles within Disney Consumer Products based in Milan, where she contributed to the business growth of the Fashion and Home lines. Prior to Disney she held several positions in the commercial departments of Hertz Italia and Grup.P.Italia, managing luxury licensees.
As head of the Benelux region, Jean-Francois Auquier has been named Country Director Benelux. Prior to his appointment, Auquier was responsible for managing the DreamWorks agents within the France and Benelux region for DreamWorks Consumer Products. He also held various positions at the Walt Disney Company Consumer Products division, across Benelux, the U.K. and Italy.
About Universal Brand Development
Universal Brand Development globally drives expansion of the company’s intellectual properties, franchises, characters and stories through innovative physical and digital products, content, and consumer experiences. Along with franchise brand management, Universal Brand Development’s core businesses include Consumer Products, Games and Digital Platforms, and Live Entertainment based on the company’s extensive portfolio of intellectual properties created by Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation, and NBCUniversal cable and television. Universal Brand Development is a business segment of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, and part of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA).