NELSON, ROOD, & CALDON On the DC Executive Appointments

DC Entertainment Pres. DIANE NELSON

Update 10:55 am- The Source has now also posted statements from new Executive Vice President Sales, Marketing and Business Development John Rood and new Executive Vice President, Finance and Administration Patrick Caldon. Those statements are also reprinted below.

Over on DCU Blog THE SOURCE,  a statement was released from DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson. Nelsonnotes her excitement over the new appointments of Jim Lee and Dan DiDio as Co-Publishers, thanks Paul Levitz for his interim service, and goes into a bit more detail on the announcement. The full letter from Nelson is reprinted below:

A Note From Diane Nelson:

Well, we’re finally here. The announcement so many have been waiting for – and a few of us have been waiting anxiously to make. I’m very happy to present the new leadership team for DC Entertainment, including our new Co-Publishers of DC Comics!

I simply couldn’t be prouder or more excited to be working alongside these amazingly talented gentlemen. And I couldn’t have more faith in the promise of the future for DC and its deeply talented employees.

Before I share a few thoughts on each of these leaders, I’d like to acknowledge some of the rumors that have understandably been swirling around in the days and weeks leading up to today.

First, what we announced in September was the creation of DC Entertainment as a company and my role running it. We also shared the fact that Paul Levitz would continue to operate as Publisher of DC Comics until his replacement was announced. Paul has continued to operate as Publisher of DC Comics over the past 5 months, as I took time to learn about the organization, consider how I want to structure the company for the future and who I want to run it with me. He made sure the business kept working and people knew someone was on the ground with them, looking out for their interests.

I thank Paul for that continuity and commitment to me, Warner Bros. and the DC business and team. I know it was not an easy time for him or for the employees at DC – and I’m thrilled that he can now turn his full attention to writing; something I know he is excited about, as are fans.

In terms of possible alternate candidates for the Publisher role, some very qualified names have been talked about and raised. Each have tremendous merit in his or her own right, but none other than this team were approached or considered seriously. Jeff Robinov’s and my interest in this specific combination of people – with their highly complementary talent – has been in play since very early on in this transition period. And our decision to pursue assembling this specific team was made as early as mid-November. Anyone who looks carefully will see that it can’t have been easy or quick to make this team happen. But equally, people must see how compelling it was to try.

It has been my observation that business partnerships – actually, any partnership, really – are rarely effective unless the partners choose each other. This partnership – both Dan and Jim as Co-Publishers and Geoff, John and Pat as executive partners with them – was a very organic and natural one. And this team is brimming with respect for one another and excitement at what this combination can achieve.

And so, a word or two about each:

- Jim Lee is one of the top artists and creators in the business. But he is also an astonishingly smart and experienced businessman. He has a calm, confident and reassuring leadership style that will be enormously valuable to every member of the DC Entertainment and DC Comics team. He is fully adept and experienced at building a publishing program on his own, and will partner with Dan in doing so, but he also brings an affinity and passion for digital that will help the DC Comics business move aggressively into the future.

- Dan DiDio is one of the most passionate and energetic leaders I have ever seen. He cares deeply about these characters and stories, and equally about the people who bring them to life at and with DC Comics. He knows how to manage the day-in, day-out mechanics of the publishing program, with his own strong creative sense, and he has great experience from prior to DC in adapting stories for other platforms.

- Geoff Johns has an unparalleled creative mind and a huge heart. He brings a level of enthusiasm, passion and optimism to every discussion I have with him that is so motivating. He will be instrumental in establishing the tone and culture of creative risk and business growth that we intend for DC Entertainment. And he will ensure the integrity of how we bring these characters and stories to fans across every entertainment platform.

- John Rood is a long-time colleague and friend. I have been looking for a way to work with him again ever since we met during his first stint at Warner Bros. 10 years ago. John was smart and accomplished then, but he has built and grown his professional experience in his 10 years at ABC Family in a way that makes him uniquely qualified for the job I envisioned. John will be a passionate, innovative marketer of the DC Comics publishing program, while he helps us build DC Entertainment and its library with internal divisions across Time Warner and Warner Bros. He will treat our retail customers and our consumers like the superheroes they are. And we’re lucky to have him on this team.

- Pat Caldon. What can I say about Pat that people don’t already know, particularly inside DC Comics? He is a rock. He is deeply knowledgeable and much more creatively passionate than he lets on. He cares about everyone and everything associated with DC and he will be an instrumental partner to all of us in building the company for the future.

At some point during the September announcement flurry, Paul and I were talking about what I was taking on as President of DC Entertainment. He pointed out to me that I was about to step in to the greatest job in the world at arguably the greatest company in the world. The last 6 months, while anxious and difficult ones for all of you at DC Comics, have demonstrated to me how true Paul’s words were.

Among the many incredibly fun experiences I’ve had over this period, was a recent one week stint in which I had the honor to have dinner with Neil Gaiman one night and Grant Morrison and his awesome wife, Kristan, the next. That fact alone should be enough to illustrate my point about the greatest job in the world. But during each of those conversations, we touched on the crossroads at which DC finds itself.

From Neil came the eloquently concise assessment that what I was talking about for the future of DC Entertainment was “no fear”. So true; my job, with this team of amazing executives, is to support and create a safe environment for creative risks and business innovation.

And from Grant and Kristan was the observation that we’re at the starting point of the next era for DC Comics and DC Entertainment. Preceded by so many interesting, passionate, talented leaders, we are continuing a legacy and building upon it – together.

Let’s have fun and work hard to make this next era the best yet and thank you to everyone at DC for your patience and professionalism with me as I take the time to make careful, thoughtful and meaningful changes that set us all up for success.

A Note from John Rood

I’m a suit.

At more than one Comic-Con, someone from the crowd has complimented my performance as a session moderator by saying “You’re pretty cool…for a suit.”  At least I think it was a compliment…

It’s this suit’s extreme pleasure to join the DC sales, marketing, and business development team.  I’ve known Cheryl and Steve for years (partly from my first tour of duty at Warner Bros a decade ago), and am so impressed with all they and their talented colleagues have accomplished.  It’s an exciting new age for DC Entertainment, across all media and lines of business.

For 20 years, I have had the good fortune of working only on stuff I’m very passionate about – from commercials to television to movies to websites.  And for classic brands that refuse to rest on their laurels – from McDonald’s to Miller to Disney Channel to ABC.  It’s great to be keeping these streaks alive - back again at Warner Bros., back again in the DC Universe. I am told I was hired because of my experience in entertainment marketing - to kids and families, to young women, to the urban market, across multimedia, with trade partners, with a limited budget, etc.

I have already been identified as an insider fan with an outsider POV. So here’s my POV - there is so much going so well for so many things across DC. An unequaled collection of characters and stories. A commitment to quality content that’s nothing short of inspiring. I see no publisher serving the needs of the Direct Market better, and no publisher with a more extensive catalogue of books and trades in the mass market channel. These imperatives are not possible without our cherished retailer partners, with whom I look forward to working most closely.

What has kept me from a good night sleep so far is the issue of Balance – balancing what’s best for the traditional business channels with what will be best for the future of the business and the art form, balancing what superserves the current superfans with what will serve an entirely new generation of fans, balancing promotion with profit, etc.

At Disney/ABC, I had a fun 10 years in the Digital space, working on some exciting web, social networking, promotional, and multiplatform windowing strategies. One of my missions is to work with the new executive team to take DC storytelling and promotion to the next level.  We see it as a sacred obligation to you – to unleash our characters and stories and news across all platforms that matter to you.  You’ll soon see us at DC Entertainment making big news in Digital, in the short- and long-term, from mobile strategy to a suite of publishing products. Digital is a dialogue, so I look forward to keeping in touch with you during this crucial evolution.

I hope you feel the passion across all of our blogs today.  What an inspiring and accomplished team Diane has assembled in Jim and Dan and Geoff and Patrick.  They formed a rock supergroup, for whom I look forward to being the roadie. I jumped at the chance to work for Diane, in whom all DC fans should put their trust wholly.  Our talks to-date have been so fearless and exciting – just you wait.

Thank you all very much.  See you in the stores and at the Cons.

A Note From Patrick Caldon

I don’t blog. Never have. Never intended to do so. I’m a behind-the-scenes guy. A numbers and systems guy.

Way back in 1985, I joined DC Comics as the company’s Controller. Obviously, a lot has changed in our industry in that time. I’ve seen our staff grow from less than 100 employees based in New York to over 275 employees located nationwide. During that time, the company’s internal systems, from manufacturing to inventory management, have gotten more complex. Distribution has diversified. Deals have been made by my team with thousands of world class artists and writers. New readers are discovering comics and graphic novels and our characters. The DC Universe has even gone from infinite worlds to 52 universes. (At least that’s what Jim and Dan tell me.) Heroes have died and been reborn.

My point is this–change is a constant in comic books. But continuity is, too.

Today’s announcement signals change, but change that comes with continuity. Familiar faces (Dan and Jim and Geoff) and familiar people behind the scenes (like this onetime blogger) are joined by new faces (Diane and John). It’s a dynamic team, one with an eye on the future and an appreciation for the past. You’ll be hearing more about our plans for the future in the weeks and months to come.

But before we get there, in appreciation of the past, I’d like to offer a public tip of the cap to my longtime colleague and boss, Paul Levitz, as he returns to his writing roots and to the adventures of the 31st Century. Under his leadership, DC Comics has been an industry innovator and I’m proud to have been part of the magic of these past twenty five years. Thank you, Paul.

Here’s to your future—and the future of DCE and DC Comics.

–Patrick

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