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Warner Animation Group Appoints New EVP, SVP

Allison Abbate and Chris Leahy are joining the animated film production arm

Warner Animation Group has appointed two senior-level executives to their animated film production arm: Allison Abbate has been named executive vice president, while Chris Leahy has been appointed senior vice president.

President and Chief Content Officer Toby Emmerich and Courtenay Valenti, President of Production and Development, share oversight of the animation group.

“Allison and Chris are well known and well respected in the animation community and will be key to expanding our operations at Warner Animation Group,” said Emmerich. “We have ambitious plans for WAG and will rely on Allison and Chris to attract world-class animation talent to help us develop and deliver a robust slate of both animated and live-action/hybrid titles.”

“Warner Bros. has a long and storied history in animation,” added Valenti. “From our early animated theatrical shorts to our recent LEGO releases from WAG, animation is a Studio cornerstone. I am so excited that Allison and Chris, both admired and excellent animation executives, will help us focus our efforts in this area to become an important player in family entertainment.”

Abbate will be responsible for overall strategy and creative direction of the animation group, while Leahy will oversee all aspects of its production and operations. Both Abbate and Leahy will work with Valenti.

Abbate is a 20-year industry veteran best known for her producing work on “The Iron Giant,” for which she won a BAFTA Award. Other credits include “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride” and “Frankenweenie,” all of which were Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated. She also served as an exec producer on “The LEGO Movie.”

Leahy most recently served as vice president, theatrical animation of Warner Bros. Pictures, where he oversaw the production of “Storks,” “The LEGO Batman Movie” and “The LEGO Ninjago Movie.” Previously, he worked at DreamWorks Animation for 12 years, and served as an associated producer on “Penguins of Madagascar” and production manager on “Turbo.”

Warner Animation Group projects currently in production include “Smallfoot,” “The LEGO Movie Sequel” and “Scoob.”