UPDATE, 11:07 AM: Wall Street likes what it sees with DreamWorks Animation’s hire of former DirecTV exec Fazal Merchant as CFO — and How To Train Your Dragon 2′s big China bow probably doesn’t hurt either. DWA’s stock jumped as much as 10% after the studio’s announcement of Merchant this morning, and is now sitting at 22.56, up 9.6% for the day and 12.5% over the past five days. The strong forward movement comes after the studio’s latest release, How To Train Your Dragon 2, opened huge in China over the weekend, sending its global box office total above $500M. That also has to be music to the ears of investors, who have drawn down the stock 36% year-to-date. That fall-off came after write-downs over the past year for Peabody & Mr Sherman, Turbo and Rise Of The Guardians.
PREVIOUS, 7:45 AM: Fazal Merchant’s naming as CFO follows current CFO Lew Coleman’s move earlier this month to the role of Vice Chairman, where he will focus on global growth initiatives. Merchant will officially start his new position September 15.
“As we transition and augment our executive leadership team to best fit the needs of the company, I’m thrilled to welcome Fazal into the role of CFO,” said Coleman, DWA Vice Chairman and Acting Chief Accounting Officer. “He brings with him not only passion for our business, but also experience drawn from senior leadership roles across multiple industries, which will be an incredible asset as we continue to grow and diversify.”
Merchant joins DWA from DirecTV, where he was most recently SVP and CFO of DirecTV Latin America. Before that, he also held the title of SVP, Treasurer & Corporate Development. Prior to joining DirecTV, Merchant held management positions at Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Capital and Ford Motor Co.