It’s been almost 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was published, 15 since the first movie was released, and fascination with JK Rowling’s boy wizard shows no signs of abating. Managing and reaping rewards from the franchise’s continuation, Warner Bros has put the finishing touches on the senior executive structure of its Harry Potter Global Franchise Development team, promoting WB UK veteran Polly Cochrane to EVP & Group Marketing Director, Warner Bros UK & Ireland, and Chief Marketing Officer for HPGFD. The move comes on the heels of last night’s first previews of West End production, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, although WB Theatrical is not involved in the play.
Cochrane, who has been with the studio since 2009, will continue to evolve WB UK’s marketing operation, while also leading on global brand strategy and guidelines for HPGFD, in partnership with JK Rowling’s reps at The Blair Partnership and other WB business units.
The Harry Potter Global Franchise Development team is charged with optimizing the continuing expansion of the lucrative brand. Upcoming projects include feature series Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, whose first film, starring Eddie Redmayne, releases in November; the Warner Bros Studio Tour London — The Making of Harry Potter; The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks; and Harry Potter digital products including Rowling’s Pottermore.
Will Harrison and Nicole Blake have also been hired as SVP & Chief Commercial Officer, HPGFD; and SVP, HPGFD, respectively. Harrison, who will be based in London and joins from HBO Europe, will lead commercial and business initiatives relating to the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises. Blake, based in Burbank, will work with Cochrane and Harrison on strategy, marketing and business development. She was previously Head of Franchise at DreamWorks Animation. Each of the execs will report to Josh Berger, President & Managing Director, Warner Bros UK, Ireland and Spain, and HPGFD.
Berger said, “Polly’s well-deserved promotion reflects her incredible track record, which has seen her turn our cross-divisional marketing into a best-in-class operation. Will is hugely experienced in international business development, while Nicole has an incredibly impressive background in franchise management.”