Kathy Franklin to Head 'Avatar' Brand Development for Lightstorm

The former Disney exec will serve as president of franchise development at James Cameron and Jon Landau's shingle, working with 20th Century Fox.

Tapped to build the Avatar brand, Kathy Franklin has been named president of franchise development at James Cameron and Jon Landau's Lighstorm Entertainment.

The hire signifies Lightstorm's commitment, in collaboration with 20th Century Fox, to grow the Avatar name beyond the traditional licensing and merchandising avenues.

“Anticipating the exponential growth of the Avatar universe, we looked for someone who could lead a team that will cement Avatar as a world class brand across all platforms and markets. Kathy’s experience, coupled with her drive and vision for what Avatar can be, made her the right choice," Cameron said.

Avatar 2 is set to hit theaters in 2014, followed in 2015 by Avatar 3.

Franklin is a seasoned executive with a proven record of designing and implementing branding strategies. As vice president of global studio franchise development for Disney Consumer Products, she worked on the Disney Princess, Disney Fairies, Cars and Toy Story franchises.

Prior to that, she was vice president of Disney Worldwide Outreach, running marketing and communications for all corporate philanthropic outreach and charitable giving.

"Bringing Kathy on board at Lightstorm further reflects the unique creative and business relationship shared by Fox and Lightstorm on the Avatar franchise," said Fox chief marketing officer Oren Aviv and chief creative officer Tony Sella. "Jim Cameron created an amazing universe of mass appeal and we're confident that with Kathy in place, this partnership will further capitalize on the tremendous opportunities inherent in this awesome property."

Franklin will be based at Lightstorm's Santa Monica offices.

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