Kennedy will also become a member of the Board of Directors and her appointment sees Avalon founders Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner become Co-Executive Chairmen of the company.
Having started at Avalon as a talent manager, Kennedy has been with Orange Is The New Black producer Lionsgate for over ten years in roles including EVP of Television Operations & Corporate Development and COO. She most recently headed up operations, strategy and planning for the television division and oversaw M&A activity, reporting to Lionsgate Television Group Chairman Kevin Beggs.
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She has been instrumental in a broad range of transactions including the acquisitions of syndication business Debmar-Mercury, the television channel Pop, a majority stake in leading reality producer Pilgrim Media and the recent investments in U.K. production companies Primal Media and Potboiler Television. Most recently, she was one of the deal-makers spearheading Lionsgate’s $4.4 billion acquisition of Starz.
Based in LA, Kennedy starts today (October 2). In addition to Oliver’s HBO talkshow, Avalon produces series including Amazon and Channel 4 co-pro Catastrophe, co-created and starring Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, and hit British format Taskmaster, which airs on UKTV and was remade in the U.S. by Comedy Central. It also produced Comedy Central’s Workaholics, starring Modern Family’s Adam Devine. The company, which has offices in LA, New York and London, is now producing six-part comedy Starstruck from New Zealand-born comedian Rose Matafeo for HBO Max and the BBC.
Thoday said, “Laura’s record at Lionsgate speaks for itself, she is an exceptionally talented executive and we are delighted she has chosen to return to Avalon. It’s very rare to have the opportunity to bring someone in who understands the company’s DNA and we are all looking forward to the future in this exciting environment for creative talent.”
Kennedy added, “I am thrilled to be joining the team at Avalon. They have built a phenomenal business, with an impressive talent roster and a high-quality production slate. I am honored to be granted the opportunity to work with them, and am excited to lead the next phase of the company’s growth.”
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