* Steven D. Zimmer, an attorney with a background in land-use matters and real estate development, has been appointed vice president of the Newhall Ranch division by the board of the Valencia-based Newhall Land & Farming Co.

Zimmer, who took over as head of the controversial Newhall Ranch project in late May, replaces James M. Harter, who retired. He was named vice president last week.

Zimmer left an Oxnard law firm that he founded to accept the job, and will now spearhead the company's effort to build a proposed 21,000-home "new town" along California 126 near the Ventura County line. Several groups, including Ventura County, have filed suit to block the development, which would be the largest housing project in Los Angeles County history.

* Burbank-based Iwerks Entertainment Inc., maker of simulator rides for amusement parks, announced several executive appointments last week.

Bruce Palmore was named vice president and controller while T.J. Majauskas was appointed director of financial planning. Palmore previously held executive financial positions with Keystone Automotive Industries and other companies. Majauskas was formerly director of financial administration for Warner Bros. Studio Facilities division in Burbank.

Phil Hill, an engineer at Iwerks for 10 years, was promoted to vice president of engineering. Don Stults, a member of the company's sales team, was promoted to vice president of operations. Paul Smith, another Iwerks veteran, will be the company's new director of manufacturing. And Tom Prine, who has worked on the company's product development, will be the director of project services. Since it was founded in 1986, Iwerks has become one of the top companies building high-tech amusement rides, with attractions in 38 countries.

* Kevan Boner has been appointed vice president of corporate planning for Universal Studios, Universal City, the company announced. Boner has been with Universal since 1994. Before that he was a senior associate at the Government Finance Group, a municipal finance consulting firm based in Costa Mesa.

Universal Studios is a unit of the Seagram Co. Ltd., an entertainment and beverage company.

* Mark Criton has been named vice president of information systems at IPC-The Hospitalist Co., North Hollywood. For the past 11 years, he served as manager of network technology and Oracle development at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

IPC is a network of acute-care physicians, specializing in the coordination and management of inpatient care in conjunction with primary-care physicians and specialists.

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