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Jonathon Ker Joins Great Guns USA as Partner & CEO

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Former Partner & EP at Paydirt teams with Great Guns founder Laura Gregory & LA-based EP Annie Hanlon

Jonathon Ker Joins Great Guns USA as Partner & CEO

Photo, left to right: Jonathon Ker and Laura Gregory 

Jonathon Ker, the veteran Executive Producer and production company owner, has joined Great Guns USA as Partner and CEO.  The news was announced jointly by Ker and Laura Gregory, Global CEO and Founder of Great Guns, the international production company.  Most recently, Ker was a Partner and Executive Producer at Paydirt Pictures. 

Joining Ker at Great Guns USA will be Executive Producer Annie Hanlon, who will focus on digital and new media work.  Both Ker and Hanlon will work closely with Gregory and her team of Great Guns EPs and producers in London.

The move represents a significant realignment of Great Guns USA’s management and underscores a renewed emphasis on building the company’s presence in the US, says Gregory, who launched the shop in London in 1992. Since then Great Guns has grown into one of the top global brands in the production of ad content, with offices in New York, Prague, Hamburg, Mumbai, Shanghai and Singapore.

Ker is an accomplished executive who’s well-known in the production industry in the US, having built the careers of a number of directors while leading several top production houses. The former Head of TV at Bartle Bogle Hegarty in London, he arrived in L.A. to launch the commercial division of the legendary music video company Limelight

He later opened Palomar Pictures, which he ran for nine years before launching Amoeba, a creative boutique he co-founded with former CAA Creative Director Len Fink.  He also held an EP position at Tight Films, a division of GARTNER, before co-founding Paydirt with the director Iain Mackenzie and EP Jeremy Barrett in 2008.

Ker says his reason for joining Great Guns was twofold.  One was a desire to work on a more international platform, which Great Guns is uniquely suited to offer.  The other was a chance to work with Gregory again; the two first crossed paths when Ker was at BBH.

“Laura arrived back in my life at the perfect moment,” Ker says. “I’ve wanted to embrace the more global side of the business and at the same time reinvent myself creatively.  And Laura has spent the past five years doing just that. There are very few companies that offer the same type of global reach in all of the various disciplines of the day as Great Guns does globally.”

While Great Guns has had a presence in the States for some time, there are fundamental differences to the re-engineered version Ker and Hanlon are heading up.  “We’ve had the brand here, but not the culture of the company,” says Ker.  “Now we’ll have not just the name, but the spirit of the shop, and that’s embodied by Laura’s spirit and drive. This will allow us to take advantage of the full global benefits of being a part of the Great Guns network.”

Gregory says the reason it’s taken close to two years to find the right mix of talent, experience, outlook and vision to lead the company’s US headquarters has been her focus on building the company’s Asian operation during this time, coupled with the fact that she’s been on a quest to find the perfect stateside partner. 

“This hasn’t been a search, it’s been a journey,” Gregory says of the experience. “Not settling for just anyone was paramount; we needed the right people to shepherd the growth of our brand here. We’ve found that in Jonathon and Annie.”

Hanlon’s joining Great Guns represents another reunion; she first worked with Ker when she was at GARTNER. Most recently she was EP and Head of New Business Development at There Digital Sets, a company that markets virtual production environments for producers working in advertising and programming. 

Prior to that Hanlon held EP positions at such companies as Bueno Films and The Joneses. She’s also owned and managed her own production companies, having been a founding partner of Trio Films (now Splendid & Co.) as well as Chromatic Films.  In her new role, she’ll work closely with Sheridan Thomas, Great Guns’ London-based Global EP and Head of Integrated Production. 

“One of the reasons I was attracted to Great  fGuns, in addition to getting a chance to work with Jonathon again, was by Laura’s ability to combine eclectic teams of people in ways that are smart and strategic,” Hanlon notes. “And that’s perfect for what’s happening in L.A. right now. There are lots of innovative companies here doing things that present a wide palette of digital options and styles, and they’re have a big impact on production and content creation. I see Great Guns as being a big part of this community.”

Ker, Hanlon will lean on a Great Guns USA sales team that includes Philip Alden of The PTA on the East Coast and Maureen Butler in the Midwest.

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Great Guns London, Wed, 07 May 2014 09:14:48 GMT