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Universal names Margie Cohn head of DreamWorks Animation

Universal names Margie Cohn head of DreamWorks Animation
Margie Cohn of DreamWorks Animation. (S. D'Halloy / Image & Co.)

The Boss Baby has a new corporate leader.

Comcast Corp.’s Universal Filmed Entertainment Group has promoted veteran television executive Margie Cohn to president of DreamWorks Animation, the studio known for computer-generated movies such as “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda,” the company said Wednesday.

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Cohn’s elevation at Glendale-based DreamWorks comes after she led the studio’s prolific animated television business to considerable profits since she first joined in 2013, overseeing a robust lineup of streaming shows such as “All Hail King Julien” and “Trollhunters.” She will now lead both TV and film at the studio.

She replaces Chris DeFaria, who will leave the company after the release of “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” in February. DeFaria, a former Warner Bros. executive, joined the company in 2017.

The move marks the latest management change for DreamWorks Animation since NBCUniversal bought the company for $3.8 billion in 2016 in a move to better compete with Walt Disney Co. in the animation business. Universal also has a strong in-house animation business in Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment, which makes films such as “Minions” and “The Secret Life of Pets.”

Meledandri additionally has a key role at DreamWorks Animation, serving as a senior advisor and overseeing the revival of the studio’s key “Shrek” franchise.

Television has been a major focus for DreamWorks under Universal’s ownership, as the company has worked to rebuild its film arm. The division kicked off in 2013 with a deal to produce shows for Netflix and has recently expanded with deals for Amazon and Hulu.

Its latest shows include “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” and “3Below: Tales of Arcadia” on Netflix, and “Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny” on Amazon. The company is also working on an animated show based on Universal’s “Fast & Furious” film series.

Cohn will report to Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Pictures. Before joining DreamWorks, Cohn worked for 26 years at Nickelodeon.

“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.”

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