Global Brands Group, the international brand management company, has appointed Mark Matheny to be its President and CEO. Mark was previously executive vice president at Warner Bros Consumer Products, where he had been for 15 years. Mark will be based in Los Angeles but will travel extensively.
At the same time Global Brands Group has announced it has signed a worldwide deal with magazine publisher IPC, to extend its magazine brands through licensing and related opportunities.
Mark's appointment comes at a pivotal time for Global Brands Group, which now has a presence in the Far East, the US, the Middle East and Europe. It has recently completed its first range of deals for Californian surf brand Maui and the British restauranteur Marco Pierre White. It has been quietly developing other niche brands as well.
Mark told License! Europe he believes that brands could be using licensing better than they do at the moment. 'I believe licensing is underleveraged,' he said. And hence the opportunity. Global aims to partner with and, ultimately, acquire brands that have appeal in a number of international markets and describes its business as 'brand management.'
Global is known for the retail knowledge and experience of its executives and so it's not surprising that creating retail concepts and environments for new products will be at the fore of all its activities. Its projects will be characterised by boldness, investment and longevity. 'Think of us like a master licensor,' says Mark, and explains the expertise won't just include help with products but also also elements such as innovation, marketing and PR.
IPC is the UK's leading consumer magazine publisher selling over 330m magazines each year. Initially, Global Brands will work with IPC's in-house resource on four titles. These are Decanter, the world's best wine magazine; House and Garden; Practical Parenting and the award winning men's weekly, Nuts. The deal is rumoured to be for over ten years.
In the long term, Global Brands Group wants to become the most attractive partner to brand owners looking to develop their brands and we should expect additional high-profile announcements of representations in the near future.
If Global Brands does as it says, it may herald a new generation of third parties prepared to invest in transforming rather than exploiting valuable intellectual property.