- Tuesday, May. 6, 2014
- LOS ANGELES
Industry veteran Jonathon Ker has joined GreatGuns USA as partner and CEO. The news was announced jointly by Ker and Laura Gregory, global CEO and founder of international production company GreatGuns. Most recently, Ker was a partner and executive producer at Paydirt Pictures.
Also coming aboard GreatGuns USA is exec producer Annie Hanlon who will focus on digital and new media work. Both Ker and Hanlon will work closely with Gregory and her team of GreatGuns EPs and producers in London.
The move represents a significant realignment of GreatGuns USA’s management and underscores a renewed emphasis on building the company’s presence in the U.S., said Gregory, who launched the shop in London in 1992. Since then GreatGuns has expanded its ad content production reach with offices in New York, Prague, Hamburg, Mumbai, Shanghai and Singapore.
Ker is an accomplished executive who’s well-known in the production industry in the U.S., having built the careers of a number of directors while leading several production houses. The former Head of TV at Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) in London, he arrived in L.A. to launch the commercial division of music video company Limelight He later opened Palomar Pictures, which he ran for nine years before joining Amoeba, a creative boutique founded by former CAA creative director Len Fink. Ker also held an EP position at Tight Films, a division of GARTNER, before co-founding Paydirt with the director Iain Mackenzie and EP Jeremy Barrett in 2008.
Ker said his reason for joining GreatGuns was twofold. One was a desire to work on a more international platform, which GreatGuns is uniquely suited to offer. The other was a chance to work with Gregory again; the two first crossed paths when Ker was at BBH.
While GreatGuns has had a presence in the States for some time, there are fundamental differences to the re-engineered version Ker and Hanlon are heading up. “We’ve had the brand here, but not the culture of the company,” said Ker. “Now we’ll have not just the name, but the spirit of the shop, and that’s embodied by Laura’s spirit and drive. This will allow us to take advantage of the full global benefits of being a part of the GreatGuns network.”
Gregory said the reason it’s taken close to two years to find the right mix of talent, experience, outlook and vision to lead the company’s US operation has been her focus on building the company’s Asian operation during this time, coupled with the fact that she’s been on a quest to find the perfect stateside partner. “This hasn’t been a search, it’s been a journey,” Gregory said of the experience.
Hanlon’s joining GreatGuns represents another reunion; she first worked with Ker when she was at GARTNER. Most recently she was EP and head of new business development at There Digital Sets, a company that markets virtual production environments for producers working in advertising and programming.
Prior to that Hanlon held EP positions at such companies as Bueno Films and The Joneses. She’s also owned and managed her own production companies, having been a founding partner of Trio Films (now Splendid & Co.) as well as Chromatic Films. In her new role, she will work closely with Sheridan Thomas, GreatGuns’ London-based global EP and head of integrated production.
GreatGuns USA sales team includes Philip Alden of The PTA on the East Coast and Maureen Butler in the Midwest.