Three years after joining Maker Studios, and steering the company through one of the most talked about acquisitions in the industry, CEO Ynon Kreiz is leaving, the Disney-owned company has confirmed.
Taking his place at the helm will be Courtney Holt. Holt has been named EVP and head of Maker Studios and will report directly to Jimmy Pitaro, co-chair of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media and president, Disney Interactive.
The changes will take effect Jan. 11.
Kreiz (pictured) came onboard Maker in 2012 and led the company through its turbulent $500 million takeover by Disney two years later.
Today, the multi-channel network operates more than 55,00 channels across YouTube with a combined reach of 10 million subscribers and 3.9 billion monthly views, according to MCN ranking platform, SocialBlade. It recently launched a series of originals, including the animated series Story Time with Fat Jew, starring Josh Ostrovsky, and the animated series is Pugatory featuring Felix Kjellberg and Marzia Bizognin, better known to their millions (and millions) fans as PewDiePie and CutiePieMarzia.
But several media outlets, including Variety, Hollywood Reporter and Deadline, have long predicted Kreiz’s departure as the company approached the end of an “earn-out” period established at the time of Disney’s purchase of Maker. Under that deal, Maker execs stood to collect an additional money if various (unspecified) performance-based targets were met within a two-year timeframe. However, according to media reports, the company has fallen short of those targets.
Kreiz is the third senior executive to step away from the company in a matter of months. In August, former chief content officer Erin McPherson left the MCN, as did former head of marketing, Jeremy Welt,
Holt served as a former adviser to News Corp. Digital and EVP, digital media and music for the MTV Networks Music and Logo Group. Prior to joining Maker, he was president of Myspace Music.
In a statement, Pitaro thanked Kreiz for his role in Maker’s rise to prominence in the MCN scene. Some of Maker’s talent includes vlogger Shane Dawson, gamer Toby Turner and YouTube’s top earner, Felix Kjellberg.