BEVERLY HILLS, CA--(April 20, 2016) - Genius Brands International, Inc. "GBI" (GNUS), a global brand management company dedicated to providing entertaining and enriching 'content with a purpose' for toddlers to tweens, and its Board of Directors names veteran financial executive and former VP of Finance for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Rebecca Hershinger, as Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. The announcement was made today by GBI's Chairman and CEO Andy Heyward, to whom Hershinger will report.
Hershinger initially began working with GBI in early 2014 through CFO Advisory Services, Inc., a corporation she founded that provided accounting and business advisory services to private and public companies, and then served as the Company's CFO from October 2014 through June 2015, while living in Salt Lake City, UT. Hershinger's reappointment and imminent relocation to the GBI's Beverly Hills, California headquarters underscores the tremendous growth the Company anticipates in 2016 and beyond, which will be driven by a multi-year distribution agreement with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; growth of the Kid Genius Channel on Comcast's XFinity On Demand platform; and launch of new brands worldwide, including the music-driven tween girls brand, SpacePOP, preschool brand Llama Llama, based on the NY Times Bestselling book franchise, as well as the expansion of existing brands such as Thomas Edison's Secret Lab, Warren Buffett's Secret Millionaires Club and Stan Lee's Mighty 7. Additionally, GBI continues to develop new brands for multiplatform distribution worldwide.
As Chief Financial Officer, Hershinger will be responsible for all of the Company's corporate finance, accounting and financial reporting functions. She will also play an active role for GBI with its Investor Relations and corporate development initiatives.
"Genius Brands is amidst a period of rapid growth, and requires a strong executive with superb skills in overseeing the finances of a public company. Rebecca has the pedigree and expertise to lead us on this journey of continued expansion," states Heyward. "We are thrilled with all of the initiatives in the works, from the launching of new brands to new partnerships and distribution strategies."
"Andy and the extremely talented team at Genius Brands, utilizing their wealth of experience, have laid the groundwork for the Company to grow into a leading children's media company through the development of many animated characters and properties and the creation of powerful distribution platforms all centered on the 'content with a purpose' mission," comments Hershinger. "I am delighted to be collaborating with the entire Genius Brands' team again, especially our SVP of Finance, Matt Kornberg, and lending my financial expertise to manage the Company's expansive growth in the years to come."
Hershinger held finance and corporate development positions at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. in which she was responsible for various finance functions related to M&A analysis, cross-collateralized slate film financing vehicles, and motion picture deal analysis. She also served as an Investment Banking Analyst for JP Morgan Chase & Co., covering clients in the entertainment, real estate and hotels & gaming industries.
Hershinger received a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University.
In response to GBI's rapid growth, the Company has also appointed Southern California based Squar Milner, as its new auditors. Heyward comments, "As our business continues to expand across production, distribution and consumer products, we will benefit from Squar Milner's relevant industry and market-space experience, stellar record with the PCAOB, and global reach through their network of 300 independent accounting and consulting firms globally. We believe that this most recent appointment reflects our commitment to have the most experienced and accomplished professionals serve as our independent registered public accounting firm."