DreamWorks Animation Combines Film, TV Operations, Names Margie Cohn as President

Chris deFaria will exit as DreamWorks feature animation president

Last Updated: January 9, 2019 @ 2:47 PM

Universal Filmed Entertainment announced on Wednesday that Margie Cohn will take over as president of DreamWorks Animation, effective immediately.

Cohn, who previously served as president of DreamWorks Animation television, will now oversee both film and television operations, and is reporting to Universal Pictures chair Donna Langley.

“Over the last five years, I’ve had the privilege to work alongside our studio’s Feature Animation Group, and I have the utmost respect for the deep worlds and endearing characters they have created,” Cohn said in a statement. “I am honored that Jeff [Shell] and Donna have given me this opportunity and I look forward to working with the greater DreamWorks creative community and Chris Meledandri, with a shared goal of creating premium family entertainment that is relevant and enduring.”

Cohn takes over for Chris deFaria, who previously served as president of DreamWorks Feature Animation Group. DeFaria will leave DreamWorks in the coming months following the global release of “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.”

Since joining the company in 2017, deFaria played an instrumental role in DreamWorks Animation’s integration with Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, overseeing the completion of production on “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” the launch of DreamWorks Shorts Program and the opening of the new DreamWorks Theater attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood.

The company said deFaria will continue to consult with Comcast NBCUniversal on a number of special initiatives.

“As we look to design the next chapter in DreamWorks Animation’s iconic history, we see opportunity in aligning the film and television businesses under a singular vision,” Langley said in a statement.  “Margie is a proven executive with the right creative instincts and results-oriented skill set to make DreamWorks an innovative and seamless organization where artists can create original, high-quality content for audiences worldwide.  We are grateful to Chris for his contributions and insights over the last couple of years.”

The DreamWorks film and TV businesses will continue to maintain separate production operations under Cohn, with feature animation expected to release two films a year beginning in 2019 with “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” and “Abominable,” a co-production with Pearl Studio.

Cohn joined DreamWorks in 2013 at the inception of its television business and has led the studio through distribution deals while building the studio’s robust global slate. During her tenure, the studio has been responsible for the critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning series from Guillermo del Toro, “Trollhunters” (part of the “Tales of Arcadia” trilogy), “The Adventures of Puss in Boots,” “All Hail King Julien,” “The Boss Baby: Back in Business,” among others.

Before joining DreamWorks, Cohn spent 26 years at Nickelodeon, wherein various development and production roles she oversaw helped make the network number one in cable television for 18 consecutive years. While at Nickelodeon, Cohn oversaw the production of a number of animated series,  including “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” “The Fairly Odd Parents” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

Illumination Founder and CEO Chris Meledandri, who has been working closely with Langley and the Universal team since the studio acquired Dreamworks, will continue to act in a strategic role as senior advisor, supporting all areas of the company. Meledandri is overseeing the reimagining of the “Shrek” franchise, and Illumination executive Latifa Ouaou is spearheading development on the “Puss in Boots” sequel.

“I look forward to working with Margie and the talented team of artists at DreamWorks Animation to help expand on the rich tradition of character creation, storytelling and artistry that people have come to associate with the studio,” Meledandri said in a statement.