IDW Media Holdings has appointed Kerry McCluggage as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer, replacing founder and longtime CEO Ted Adams, the company announced today. McCluggage has an extensive television background, undoubtedly reflecting the board’s desire to take advantage of the company’s fastest-growing (and highest opportunity) segment. He had a ten-year stint as Chairman of the Paramount Television Group, during which the group was airing Cheers, Frasier, and Star Trek series, and also was President of Universal TV. For the last 10 years he’s been President of Craftsman Films, his own film and TV production company. McCluggage has been on the IDW board of directors since last fall.
IDW Chairman Howard Jonas lauded McCluggage’s Paramount credentials. “As Chairman of Paramount TV, Kerry grew that operation from $700 million to $3.2 billion in just over a decade, making it one of the world’s leading television production companies,” Jonas said in a statement.
For his part, McCluggage graciously noted the achievements of Adams and his team in talking about his new role. “IDW has demonstrated impressive achievements in each of its core divisions,” he said in a statement. “Its media unit, encompassing publishing and games as well as reimagining the entertainment production model, has achieved tremendous success and is poised for phenomenal growth. There is also a great team of passionate, talented professionals that I am eager to lead and learn from as we continue to build upon the incredible foundation created by Ted Adams and others over the past 20 years.”
Adams, the company’s founder and chief executive for its first 20 years, will take a short sabbatical and return in an unspecified creative role, the company said. He took the company from zero to a publicly traded company generating over $60 million in sales last year, with two multi-season TV series under his belt. But IDW recently hit a rough patch, with a loss in its fiscal 2017 and the first half of 2018 (see “IDW Publishing Sales Continue Declines, Losses Improve”).
“I’m excited to see where Kerry takes the company I’ve been building for the last 20 years,” Adams said. “I’m looking forward to taking a brief sabbatical and returning to IDW in a new role, and have complete confidence that the company will continue to build upon its current trajectory in the very capable hands of Kerry McCluggage. I leave him with very dedicated and smart teams across all three of our divisions. I’m proud of the work we’ve been able to do together.”
Although McCluggage brings new senior leadership to the television division, it remains to be seen what his approach will be to the company’s other two divisions: comics and games publishing, run by COO and President Greg Goldstein (watch for our ICv2 interview in the next few days); and the brochure and advertising division CTM, which seems a poor fit with the rest of the company.