The former JC Penney president and Target chief marketing officer will be responsible for worldwide branding projects, licensing and franchise management.
Francis told AdAge there is an opportunity to “harness the energy” and raise the profile of DreamWorks’ franchises, while also includes Madagascar and How To Train your Dragon.
He added: “There’s so much in its portfolio and it’s ripe for greater domestic and international exposure.”
DreamWorks Animation’s chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg told the LA Times he considers Francis “one of the most important strategic hires we’ve made”.
The film studio is hoping to rely less on box office turnover, especially as its most recent release “Rise of the Guardians” made just $53.7m (£33.5m) in ticket sales between opening and last Friday (7 December), according to Box Office Mojo. Its stock price has dropped more than 40 per cent in the last two years.
In recent months the company has formed partnerships with Royal Caribbean and Gaylord Hotels as it looks to provide experiences beyond the screen and it is understood to be working on building theme parks.
In July the company acquired Classic Media, home of classic films such as Casper and Lassie, which gives it access to more characters to license.
DreamWorks laid out a four-year plan this year to release three films annually. The next major film lined up for release is “Turbo”, the story of a snail who develops superhero speed, which Katzenberg says has the most potential of any film DreamWorks has ever released in terms of consumer products potential.