Watson exits Flying Bark

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SYDNEY -- Australian animation house Flying Bark Prods., formerly Yoram Gross EMTV, announced Tuesday that managing director Geoff Watson is stepping aside after 10 years with the company.

Watson will be replaced by a provisional managing director, Canadian producer Michael Hefferon.

The company rebranded and restructured last year following the acquisition of founder Yoram Gross' 50% stake in the company by Germany's EM.Entertainment GmbH, taking the German company to full ownership.

That restructuring will continue under Hefferon, a statement from EM.Entertainment said.

Flying Bark comprises animation production unit Greenpatch Prods., multimedia business unit Forest Interactive, and 51% of film and TV audio production division Trackdown Digital.

Hefferon, most recently senior vp production at Berlin production company BFC Berliner Film Companie Prods. and head of animation, co-productions and animation packaging at Toronto-based Gullane Entertainment, will "oversee all current productions and the restructuring of the production group in respect of EM.Entertainment's strategic positioning," the statement said.

Hefferon has also been charged with finding a permanent managing director.

EM.Entertainment managing director Susanne Schosser said Watson will continue to play an important role at Flying Bark.

"As managing director of Flying Bark Prods., Geoff Watson can take most of the credit for the success of the production company. His entrepreneurial spirit has made a huge contribution to the position it enjoys today as an independent production company within a global media group. And for our working relationship over the past two years, I would like to extend to him my sincerest gratitude," she said.

Watson will continue as managing director of Trackdown Digital Pty. Ltd. as well as taking on a short-term advisory role for Flying Bark Prods. and Forest Interactive.

Flying Bark is in production on a 52-part, 3-D animated kids series, "Zigby," with the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
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