Jim Henson chief axed after family buy-back

The Jim Henson Company’s top marketer from its UK operations is leaving following the re-acquisition of the company by the Henson family in May.

Matthew Webb, European marketing and brand manager, has been made redundant. Webb joined The Jim Henson Company in July 2001, having previously been brand marketing manager at Really Useful Games.

Jim Henson’s head office in Los Angeles will now take charge of all marketing, licensing, television and PR for the company. Senior vice-president of marketing and home entertainment worldwide Michael Polis will head marketing.

An LA spokeswoman says the company is in its early stages of reorganisation and that the Henson family only took full control of the company in the past week.

The Henson family re-acquired the company in May from EM.TV & Merchandising for $78m (£48m) in cash. The company was founded in 1958 by Jim Henson but was sold to EM.TV & Merchandising in March 2000.

The assets of The Jim Henson Company acquired in the transaction include The Muppets and The Fraggles. The company’s principal operations include Henson Television and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

The Muppets celebrated its 25th anniversary last year with a major marketing campaign that included a tie-in with McDonald’s Happy Meals range.

The promotion was supported by a national television campaign created by Leo Burnett (MW December 12, 2002).

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