Tuesday, November 21

Sesame Workshop Appoints New Executive Team

sesame_workshop_110672Sesame Workshop chief executive officer Jeffrey Dunn has made four new appointments to his executive team as part of a broad reorganization undertaken six months into his tenure.

Steve Youngwood joins the company as chief operating officer; Sherrie Westin takes on the new role of executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy; Brown Johnson joins as executive vice president and creative director; and Joseph Salvo joins as executive vice president and general counsel.

The reorganization is part of an effort to better align the company’s structure with its mission to “help kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder.”

“I came to Sesame Workshop with a single goal in mind–to help reimagine and reinvigorate a great institution for the challenges ahead,” says Dunn. “The need for our global mission has never been greater, but so too are the challenges that our mission faces. To adapt to the changed industry financial models and expanded delivery systems, we need to change as an organization, and that is the focus of this reorganization.”

Dunn also identified the three core elements of Sesame Workshop’s strategy going forward:

  • Making great content for both the informal and formal education markets.
  • Researching the behavior of kids and parents for wide dissemination and use by the general public.
  • Instigating the work of others who share Sesame Workshop’s goals and values.

“In putting together this leadership team I’m marrying some of the best minds in kids’ content with the passion and commitment that has made Sesame Workshop beloved around the world for more than four decades,” adds Dunn. “This structure recognizes the different businesses that the Workshop engages in and provides for the agile decision making needed to compete in today’s marketplace.”

In his new role, Youngwood run the Media and Education unit, which includes all of the Workshop’s global commercial endeavors. He comes to Sesame Workshop from Nickelodeon where he was executive vice president and general manager of digital media and entertainment products and previously held senior management positions at Viacom relating to the Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Paramount brands. He is also currently on the board of directors for Leapfrog Enterprises.

Westin will oversee social impact and philanthropy, which includes domestic and international community engagement, as well as global philanthropic development. Westin was promoted from her previous position of executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Sesame Workshop. She came to the Workshop from ABC, where she served as executive vice president of network communications and previously served in the first Bush White House as assistant to the President for public liaison and intergovernmental affairs.

Johnson will be responsible for domestic TV content development and production as well as creative services. An award-winning producer, she joins Sesame Workshop from Nickelodeon where she was president of animation and preschool entertainment.

Salvo will be responsible for all the company’s legal work, business affairs and government relations. He is the current general counsel of Mattel’s HIT Entertainment.