Mumbai: The Nickelodeon Kids and Family Games Group, recently formed to provide its audiences with innovative gaming experiences, announced several new key management appointments. David Bergantino has been named Vice President of Premium Games Production; Shaan Kandawalla, Vice President of Retail and Licensed Games; and Pete Banks, Vice President of Engineering. The announcements were made by Dave Williams, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Nickelodeon Kids and Family Games Group, to whom the team will continue to report.
"Gaming is the number-one thing that Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group audiences do online and our Games Group is constantly creating and providing engaging, tailored gaming experiences for them across all our properties," said Williams. "To lead these new developments, we need dedicated leadership. These managers are extremely talented and will help shape the next phase of our growth in games."
In Bergantino’s new role, he will oversee the production and creative of all licensed and self-published premium games across Nickelodeon Kids and Family Games Group’s many platforms. He will be responsible for building the publishing business for AddictingGames and Shockwave, as well as Nick’s self-publishing business on connected console and new platforms such as: XBLA; Nintendo’s WiiWare; and Apple platforms.
Additionally, Bergantino will manage production relationships with partners including: THQ; 2KPlay; Capcom; Microsoft; Nintendo; and Sony. A veteran of the interactive industry, Bergantino has been an independent producer, designer and writer for clients including: Sony Computer Entertainment – Europe; Midway Games; Eurocom Developments; Gizmo Games; Westwood Games; Surfmonkey.com; and The Learning Company.
Prior to joining Nickelodeon, Bergantino was Head of Game Design for Visual Science in Scotland. He began his career with Disney Interactive and has held positions with The WB Network and Jim Henson Interactive. He holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in screenwriting from New York’s School of Visual Arts.
In Kandawalla’s newly expanded role, she will act as the liaison between the games team and related Consumer Product group overseen by Manuel Torres, Senior Vice President, Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products. She will be responsible for console and retail game partnership development across the Kids and Family portfolio and Shockwave, AddictingGames, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. properties, including: iCarly; The Naked Brothers Band; SpongeBob SquarePants; and Dora the Explorer; among others. Previously as Director of Digital Games, she successfully helped build and manage partnerships with companies including: THQ; Take Two Interactive; Capcom; and Activision.
Kandawalla played a key role in the business development of co-branded digital games like SpongeBob Monopoly, SpongeBob Game of Life, and Dora CandyLand, and managed the licensing negotiations for the first Go! Diego, Go!, The Backyardigans and The WonderPets! video game deals. She is currently working on partnership opportunities for Ni Hao, Kai-lan and AddictingGames. Kandawalla began her career at Goldman Sachs and most recently came to Nickelodeon from Hasbro. She holds a master’s of business administration degree from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wellesley College.
Banks will lead the technical strategy and product planning for the Games Group’s online businesses which includes: Shockwave; AddictingGames; and the Nick and Nick Jr. Arcade e-commerce sites. In his new role, he will oversee all site development and continue to evolve new e-commerce, community and social networking platforms to support the Group’s online product initiatives. Banks has had more than six years of experience at Shockwave, where he has led major site development initiatives including the Shockwave Unlimited subscription platform and current site publishing systems. He began his career as the Engineering Manager at Rent.net, Move.com and Realtor.com, and is a graduate of Northwestern University.
As the Nickelodeon Kids and Family Games Group solidifies its structure, Kate Connally and Ambra Wellbeloved will continue to grow the Shockwave and AddictingGames business in their roles as Vice Presidents of AddictingGames and Shockwave, respectively.
Connally, in her role of Vice President of AddictingGames, runs the site’s and brand’s business. She has grown the site’s library to more than 3,000 titles and has overseen enormous traffic growth in the past two years.
AddictingGames recently celebrated its highest trafficked month ever with 10.7 million unique users in July (comScore July 2008). Connally has lead the addition of new community and social networking-oriented features to the AddictingGames website, and is currently spearheading the development of the first-ever multiplatform awards show for online games: The 2009 Most AddictingGames Awards. Prior to AddictingGames, Connally was Senior Director of Business Development for Atom Entertainment, where she managed opportunities for international expansion and identified key partnerships with Comcast, Time Warner’s Roadrunner, MSN, Bell South, Bell Canada, Nokia, Webshots, and more. She began her career with Volpe, Welty & Company, and has held posts with Advent International and Macromedia, Inc. Connally graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in history.
As Vice President of Shockwave, Wellbeloved manages all daily business functions and revenue lines of the site for the Nickelodeon Kids and Family Games Group, including oversight of its advertising programs, download and premium game subscription offerings, content development and production. She leads the development of product-related strategies including its recent push into community with the launch of rich profile pages, animated talking avatars, chat functionality and game favorites, which helped to increase the time on site by +30% in the last year. Wellbeloved, a 13-year veteran in the digital entertainment industry, has held numerous management positions, including: Vice President of Operations for Atom Entertainment; Director of E-commerce for Shockwave with Macromedia; posts in Sony Signatures e-commerce websites; and Organic Inc. and Publicis International digital web agencies.