Alistair Richards, former general manager of Hasbro’s UK, Northern Europe and developing market regions, has joined Gullane Entertainment, owner of Thomas the Tank Engine, in a newly created marketing role.
Gullane, formerly called the Britt Allcroft Company, has appointed Richards to the position of senior vice-president, consumer products UK and international. He will be responsible for live events, marketing, licensing and publishing.
Richards left Hasbro in December, following a restructure that would have left him with a UK rather than international focus. Richards, who will be replaced by John Harper, had spent more than six years at Hasbro, helping to build foreign sales of properties such as Action Man, Tweenies and Star Wars. Before moving to Hasbro, Richards was sales director at Colgate-Palmolive UK.
Gullane has recently been on the acquisition trail, buying the Guinness Book of Records from Diageo last July for &£45.5m. As well as Thomas & Friends, it owns characters such as Sooty, Fireman Sam and Art Attack.
Richards says: “Gullane wants to be the biggest studio for children and family entertainment outside Hollywood, and I think the company has enormous potential. But I also joined because I like the company’s values: it prefers long-term brand building to short-term hype.”