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SKYBOUND ENTERTAINMENT 2024 HIRES

 

Kaleb Ruel, VP of Games Marketing

As the newly appointed VP of Marketing for its in-house video game studio, Ruel brings a wealth of experience garnered from his tenure at Activision Blizzard, where he played a pivotal role in the record-breaking launch of Diablo IV, the fastest-selling game in Blizzard’s history, achieving an unprecedented $666 million in sales within its inaugural five days. Known for his innovative “culture-hack” approach to marketing, Kaleb orchestrated high-profile celebrity collaborations with icons such as Halsey, SUGA of BTS and Megan Fox, elevating Diablo IV‘s mass awareness and impact at launch.

Before his role at Activision Blizzard, Ruel was Head of US Marketing at Spotify from 2017-2021, pivotal growth years for the streaming service. His leadership was core to driving some of Spotify’s most impactful marketing initiatives in the US, including the annual Spotify Wrapped program, lauded within the industry as a “masterclass of fan advocacy.” Kaleb holds a bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University.

 

Gregg Sulak, Chief Financial Officer

As Chief Financial Officer, Sulak oversees the finance and accounting activities of Skybound, including 5th Planet Games, its publicly listed subsidiary on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Prior to joining Skybound, Gregg was the CFO for Wondery, Inc., one of the industry’s leading podcast studios, and since 2021 an Amazon, Inc. owned company, with revenue streams in advertising, audio and TV licensing, merchandise sales and subscriptions. With over 20 years of experience in digital media and technology including roles at Machinima/Warner Bros., Yahoo!, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, Gregg brings a wealth of knowledge and broad perspective to  Skybound’s diverse operations. He holds a California Certified Public Accounting certification (inactive), a BA in Economics / Business from UCLA and an MBA from The Wharton School in Multinational Management and Finance.

 

Will Kassoy, Head of Consumer Strategy

Kassoy brings to Skybound proven leadership in building and scaling fan-centered digital businesses from his time at Omaze (D2C fundraising platform that raised over $170M for charities); scaling video platform AdColony from zero to 1Bn users globally, and a $350M exit; and over a decade of brand management experience at Activision Blizzard. Kassoy brings with him a deep knowledge of customer acquisition, engagement and monetization, and will be focused on developing the company’s direct relationship with fans through the Insiders loyalty program, website, and online store, specifically overseeing website development, content, marketing, and the e-commerce store, working across all business units of the company.

 

Brent Jacoby, Unscripted TV

Introducing a BRAND new vertical to Skybound is Brent Jacoby, head of Unscripted television. Jacoby brings with him to Skybound extensive experience in premium formats and docu-series, having delivered high value unscripted projects for networks like Netflix, D+, History, CNBC, A&E, E!, Oxygen, and MAX. At Catalina Content, he was responsible for overseeing all development of pilots and series where he developed non scripted projects for Peacock, CNBC, A&E, Oxygen, TruTV, Lifetime, as well as developing the critically acclaimed series The Mighty Underdogs, on Discovery+. Prior to that Jacoby lead the development team for ITV America’s Outpost Entertainment where he developed projects for History, Discovery, A&E, Food Network and Science Channel, including History’s Knife or Death.

 

Chris Goble, Scripted TV

Goble comes to Skybound most recently from Amazon’s Prime Video via the MGM merger, where he joined the tentpole, genre, and universe group under Matt King (known for BUTTERFLY, CRIMINAL, DUNE: PROPHECY). During his tenure at Prime Video, he oversaw CRIMINAL by Ed Brubaker and co-showrunner Jordan Harper, as well as several high-profile MGM titles, like Robocop.

 

Ben Abernathy, Executive Editor

Long time DC staple Ben Abernathy has joined as Executive Editor, overseeing the Energon Universe, as well as a developing a new slate of original projects from comics’ top creators. Prior to joining Skybound, Abernathy was an Executive Editor at DC Comics, personally overseeing the entire Batman family line of titles as well as assembling their 2024 Elseworlds imprint relaunch. Skybound is the latest step in a career spanning over two decades, with stops at Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and more.

 

Blake Kobashigawa, Senior Director, Business Development (Editorial)

Blake Kobashigawa joins as Senior Director, Business Development, where he’ll be growing Skybound’s footprint outside traditional distribution channels. Blake will be creating new strategic partnerships, as well as managing licensor relations, retailer exclusive variant cover programs, foreign licensing, and more. Prior to joining Skybound, Kobashigawa has worked in sales, marketing, content strategy, operations and business development at comics publishers such as DC Comics and IDW Publishing, as well as music merchandise platform Merchbar.

 

Alex Hargett, Director, Brand (Editorial)

Alex Hargett joins Skybound as Director, Brand, Editorial, leading day-to-day Sales & Marketing strategy around publishing lines of business. She will be focused on further developing bookseller and librarian relationships, with a focus on growing comics readership across audiences. Hargett comes to Skybound with over twelve years of experience in publishing, focusing on sales, marketing, and publicity at various publishers including IDW Publishing, DC Comics, and Penguin Press.

 

Arune Singh, VP, Brand (Editorial) – Promotion

Arune Singh has been promoted to VP, Brand, Editorial. Previously Director, Brand, Editorial, Singh joined Skybound in January 2021 and has been instrumental in its marketing and sales successes. Singh has cracked open the Book Market, paving the way for the launch of Skybound Comet and expanding Skybound’s footprint with bookstores, libraries, Scholastic, and more, which has been recognized with a 2022 Publishers Weekly Star Watch honoree distinguishment. He’s also coordinated the launch of the Energon Universe, an unqualified commercial success in the Direct Market, and leveraged his relationships with comic book influencers to create buzz in the collectors’ market. In his new role as VP, Brand, Editorial, Arune will be leading the rapidly expanding Brand team to continue to create and execute innovative marketing and sales plans for a rapidly expanding publishing line. Prior to joining Skybound, Singh was instrumental in historic publicity and marketing campaigns with Marvel Entertainment, Syfy, and BOOM! Studios.

 

Chris Paulson, EVP & GM, Games Publishing

Former Activision Blizzard executive Chris Paulson has joined the company (beginning April 29) as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Games Publishing and will lead the commercial strategy and go-to-market efforts for Skybound’s ambitious slate of games. Paulson’s decade long career in games publishing at Activision Blizard spanned more than a dozen launches including record-breaking game launches for Diablo IV,  which delivered $666 million in the games’ first five days; Diablo Immortal, the biggest launch in the franchise’s history with 10 million installs in the first week; and World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, the fastest selling PC game of all time (3.7 million launch day copies).

 

Jeff Chaiken, Head of Corporate Development

In February, we welcomed Jeff Chaiken as SVP, Head of Corporate Development and Strategy, a new role for the company. Chaiken comes to Skybound with over three decades of experience in M&A, partnerships, and strategy within the media & entertainment and technology sectors, and most recently held the position of Head of Corporate Development and Strategy at Electronic Arts (EA) where he successfully completed transactions expanding EA’s global studio footprint, enhancing EA’s Mobile, Sports, and Entertainment portfolios, and bringing new talent, IP, and technology to the company. Notable transactions include the acquisitions of Respawn Entertainment, the creators of Titanfall, Apex Legends, and Star Wars: Jedi & Fallen Order; Codemasters’ racing portfolio, including the highly acclaimed F1 Racing; and the addition of many other fan favorite games such as Golf Clash, Design Home, Covet Fashion, and Super Mega Baseball.

 

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