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Easum to Head Crunchyroll in Europe, Middle East, Africa

John Easum has been named head of AT&T’s Crunchyroll anime unit in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The move follows the acquisition of a majority of Viz Media Europe Group by Crunchyroll, part of AT&T Otter Media.

The transaction is designed to bring together Crunchyroll’s anime brand and global platform with Viz Media Europe’s network of partners, distributors and licenses in the region.

Easum has been an adviser for Crunchyroll since 2018. Earlier in his career, he spent 12 years at Viz Media, including five years as president of Viz Media Europe. In 2012 he founded One Bridge, a Tokyo-based consultancy.

In his new job, Easum will report to Brady McCollum, head of global operations and international for Crunchyroll.

Kazuyoshi Takeuchi, president of Viz Media Europe is stepping down and will continue as an adviser to Viz Media Europe. He will also be president of a new company that will own Viz Media Europe’s publishing licensing business.

“This is an important moment in Crunchyroll’s history, indicative of our commitment to growing the global anime and manga communities. Through this acquisition, we now have operations and expertise at scale in EMEA to grow the value and audience of our collective IP across streaming, broadcast, theatrical, home video, manga, games, events, ecomm and more,” said Joanne Waage, general manager of Crunchyroll.

“As we move into this next chapter, we can think of no person better-suited to guide our strategy and team in EMEA than John Easum, who brings more than 25 years of experience growing the anime and manga industries internationally and who has served in leadership positions previously at Viz Media Europe and Viz Media USA,” Waage said.

Easum’s assignment is to expand Crunchyroll internationally, managing new and existing content distribution deals and discovering new growth opportunities. He will split his time between Paris and Berlin.

With the transaction closed, Crunchyroll will now have offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Chisinau, Paris, Berlin, and Lausanne.

“I have a deep history with Viz Media Europe, and I am grateful for the opportunity to again lead a very talented team under a new strategy that I strongly believe will take our company to the next level,” said Easum. “Collectively, we will be in a much stronger position to bring the global anime and manga communities comprehensive 360-degree experiences around the content they love; beyond streaming into broadcast and home video, publishing, consumer products and licensing, events, gaming, and much, much, more.”

Shogakukan and Shueisha Group will retain a minority stake in Viz Media Group. The companies also own Viz Media Europe’s publishing license business through a new company called VME PLB SAS. The new company will continue to introduce and license manga for EMEA and South America.