Weta Digital has tapped Ken Kamins, and former Disney COO Tom Staggs, and Google SVP Jeff Huber to its Board of Directors. The appointments come as the Peter Jackson studio has offices planned in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The trio join Weta Digital board members Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Sean Parker, Joe Letteri and CEO Prem Akkaraju.
“Tom, Jeff and Ken are extraordinary additions to the board of Weta Digital,” said Prem Akkaraju, Global CEO of Weta Digital. “They have established best practices at the highest levels of company management, in entertainment and digital technology. Their combined business acumen and collective depth of experience perfectly positions Weta Digital for exponential growth. Opening offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco enables storytellers to tap Weta’s production pipeline and work with concept designers, animation supervisors and other key creatives, in both the US and New Zealand. Weta Digital’s expansion comes at a time when much of the film industry is experiencing extraordinary uncertainty as we grapple with the ongoing impact of Covid-19. We’re extremely fortunate that New Zealand got in front of the curve early – it’s one of the few places in the world that has managed community transmission, where you can make a film safely, without the restrictive protocols of other markets.”
Kamins is the Founder and CEO of Key Creatives, a management-production company. He has repped Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh since 1992, and his Executive Producer credits include The Hobbit Trilogy, District 9, and The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. Prior to his current position, he served as EVP of the talent agency, ICM; and before that, as EVP of RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment.
“I’ve had a front row seat for the entire growth curve of Weta Digital, from its beginnings in 1993 when the company consisted of just one computer and one artist creating the digital effects in Heavenly Creatures, through to this moment,” said Kamins. “Weta Digital was designed by Peter and Fran to be a creative haven for filmmakers – a place where they could let their imaginations run wild. No idea was too crazy or too difficult to try. In collaboration with the many great artists Weta has had the privilege to work with, Joe Letteri, David Conley and their teams have consistently pushed the boundaries of imaginative storytelling.”
Staggs is Disney vet of 26 years, including 18 years of C-suite experience with the company. He was most recently Disney’s COO, having previously served for five years as Chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide and for nearly 12 years as Disney’s CFO. During his time at Disney, Staggs helped shape Disney’s strategic, financial, operational, creative and brand management strategies across every segment of the company and helped drive many of Disney’s most important initiatives including the acquisitions of Cap Cities/ABC, Pixar and Marvel. Since departing Disney in late 2016, Staggs has focused on developing several new business ventures across a variety of fields. He is a board member and advisor to a number of private companies, and also serves on the board of directors of music streaming service Spotify. Before joining Disney, Staggs was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley and Dain Bosworth.
“I have long admired Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh’s filmmaking talents and Weta Digital’s accomplishments in animation and visual effects. Weta Digital’s rare combination of creative talent and technology gives them a unique ability to succeed in high-end animation production,” said Staggs. “I look forward to working with Peter, Fran, Prem and the entire Weta Digital team on the animation business and further global expansion.”
Huber is the former Founding CEO and Vice Chairman of GRAIL and previously a SVP at Google. Having spent over 13 years at Google, Huber co-founded the company’s life sciences efforts in Google X and led development and scaling for Google Maps, Google Apps and Google Ads. During his tenure as an executive at Google, Jeff oversaw 50x growth in revenues (from $1 billion to >$50 billion) and organization (1,000 to >50,000 employees) and managed a $5 billion P&L and large distributed teams (5,000+ direct-line employees). Prior to Google, Huber served as VP of Architecture and Systems Development at eBay and Senior Vice President of Engineering at Excite@Home, where he led consumer product and infrastructure development.
“Weta Digital is known around the world for its astounding visual effects and inventive storytelling. This amazing artistry is driven by groundbreaking technology and non-stop innovation,” said Huber. “The research and development teams at Weta Digital have consistently produced magic and raised the bar as to what is possible. I look forward to the adventures ahead with Peter, Fran, Prem and the entire Weta Digital Team, growing the company in scale and technology excellence to create the next generation of culture-defining stories and experiences.”