Buddy Marini hired as GM of WBD in Japan

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Veteran Asian director Buddy Marini has been named general manager of Warner Bros. Discovery in Japan.
The role covers all activities in Japan, including home entertainment, digital and TV licensing, consumer products, anime production, franchise and pay TV networks, but excludes theatrical and the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo: The Making of Harry Potter Activities.

Marini joins WBD with more than 25 years of leadership experience at media and technology companies in Japan, China and the US. Most recently, he founded the global mobile platform Mangamo, which offers one of the largest mobile manga libraries to fans worldwide. Previously, Marini was GM, Japan for gaming company Supercell, and CEO for Hulu Japan, where he successfully oversaw the development and growth of the streaming platform into one of the country’s leading services. He has held additional leadership positions at Avex Group Holdings Inc., Universal Studios and Mitsui-Sumitomo Investment Bank.

WBD also confirmed the promotion of Nishi Chieko as VP, head of networks, Japan, replacing Glen Kyne, who has decided to leave the company and will depart on July 5. She will report to Marini. Marini, who will join from June 3, will report to James Gibbons, president of WBD Asia Pacific.

Marini has more than 25 years of experience in media and technology in Japan, China and the US. Most recently, he founded the global mobile platform Mangamo, which offers one of the largest mobile manga libraries to fans around the world. Previously, Marini was GM, Japan for gaming company Supercell, and CEO for Hulu Japan. He has held additional leadership positions at Avex Group Holdings Inc., Universal Studios and Mitsui-Sumitomo Investment Bank.

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“Japan is a key growth driver, with opportunities to scale further through franchise/IP development, distribution partnerships and content for both local and global platforms. Buddy’s expertise, proven leadership and commercial mindset will be crucial as we achieve these ambitions,” said Gibbons. “Buddy brings an impressive track record to WBD, with twenty years of broad industry experience across multiple markets and verticals.”

The company said Marini is expected to drive growth and revenue across the business, including expansion through distribution and sales strategies, digital platforms and local anime production. Gibbons recently unveiled an expansion of its anime production operations in Japan.

“I am honored to join WBD at such an exciting time in the industry. Japan has a special place in the world of entertainment and I look forward to working with the talented team at WBD to deliver world-class content and unforgettable experiences to audiences in Japan and around the world,” said Marini.

Nishi joined WBD in 2023 to lead its content and networking operations. She was previously head of studios at Spotify Japan. Over the past year, Nishi has been instrumental in consolidating WBD’s seven-channel linear portfolio under a new joint venture with J:COM, and has led new commercial partnerships locally.

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