In an internal memo today to all Universal Pictures staffers, the studio’s chairman of film entertainment, Jeff Shell, announced that Stephanie Sperber, Universal’s president of partnerships and licensing is departing after two decades at the studio. Sperber oversaw Universal’s licensing and gaming campaign for the hugely successful Despicable Me: Minion Rush mobile game, which was tied to the global launch of Despicable Me 2 during summer 2013.
Today’s announcement follows the news that my colleague Dominic Patten exclusively broke last September when Shell appointed former Disney SVP Global Toys and Hardlines Vince Klaseus to the new post of President of Universal Brand Development. Sperber has reported to Klaseus since his hire.
Sperber and her team are also behind the upcoming licensing and gaming campaign for Minions as well as Jurassic World. Sperber is leaving Universal to focus on independent projects within the consumer products, digital gaming and strategic partnerships realm. Shell’s memo credited her with transforming UP&L into “a dynamic, well-respected, and highly-profitable operation.”
“Stephanie has been a tireless advocate for Universal in the ever-changing marketplace and she has built and led an organization that achieved tremendous results,” said Ron Meyer in the memo. “While we will miss having her on our Lot, I have no doubt Stephanie will be incredibly successful in her new endeavors and we look forward to her continued presence in our industry.”