Comic Relief USA & Red Nose Day Announces Four New Board Members and Acting Chair of Board of Directors

John Makinson, Michele Ganeless, Jacki Kelley and Michael Lynton Bring Expertise in Media, Entertainment, Technology, Advertising, and Education to Charity Board

New York, New York, UNITED STATES

New York, Feb. 01, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Comic Relief USA, the charity behind the Red Nose Day campaign to end child poverty, today announced John Makinson, Michele Ganeless, Jacki Kelley, and Michael Lynton as new members of the organization’s Board of Directors. The four new Board Members bring decades of invaluable experience in media, advertising, technology, and beyond to a charity using the power of entertainment to drive positive change in America and around the world. Makinson will also be Acting Chair for the organization as Kevin Cahill, Chair since 2014, steps down from the role. Cahill will remain as a member of the board.

“It’s been amazing to be a part of bringing Comic Relief and Red Nose Day to the US — to see the evolution of a simple idea to now raising over $160 million in just three years, which has helped to do such enormous good,” said Kevin Cahill, Comic Relief USA’s departing Chair and new Board Member. “I’m excited to see the organization continue to build on this momentum, and delighted for the appointment of four fantastic new Board Members.” Cahill was also Chief Executive of Comic Relief in the UK from 1997 to 2016.

John Makinson — New Board Member and Acting Chair of the Board of Directors

John Makinson was with the Penguin Group, a Pearson company, for almost 15 years, first as Chairman and CEO of Penguin Group, then as Chairman of Penguin Random House. He recently became the Chairman of Kano, a fast-growing British company that makes computer kits for children to assemble and learn to program. John has previously served as a co-Chair of the International Rescue Committee (UK), a global humanitarian aid and relief organization, and Chairman of the National Theatre as well as The Institute for Public Policy Research, the UK’s leading progressive think tank.

John began his career as a journalist, first at Reuters and then at the Financial Times, where he edited the influential Lex column. Following a time in the United States with Saatchi & Saatchi, he returned to the UK to establish Makinson Cowell, an independent consultancy. John returned to the Financial Times as the newspaper’s Managing Director and two years later was appointed Financial Director of Pearson, the FT’s parent organization, before his move to Penguin.

John will be spearheading the search for Comic Relief USA’s permanent chair.

Michele Ganeless — New Board Member

Michele Ganeless was most recently President of Comedy Central from 2004 to 2016. Under her leadership, Comedy Central built its position across all platforms as the number one brand in comedy, establishing many of the company’s most popular series as hits like “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “South Park,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” and “Key & Peele.” Prior to joining Comedy Central, Michele served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of USA Networks.

Michele is also an independent film producer who sits on the board of the Posse Foundation, an organization dedicated to identifying and training youth leaders from urban public high schools, and on the National Advisory Council of Northwestern University’s School of Communications.

Jacki Kelley — New Board Member

Jacki Kelley is Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Bloomberg LP and has been a leader in the advertising and media industries for over 25 years. Jacki joined Bloomberg in 2014 as Chief Operating Officer of Bloomberg Media, and was appointed to the broader role of Deputy Chief Operating Officer for the Bloomberg LP in December 2017. She works across critical functions including Technology Operations, Workplace Operations, People Operations and Philanthropy & Engagement. Prior to this, Jacki was the CEO, North America, and President of Global Clients for IPG Mediabrands as well as Global CEO, Universal McCann. She was a Vice President, Worldwide Strategy & Solutions, at Yahoo! and worked with USA Today for 18 years, leaving the company as a Senior Vice President.

Jacki previously served on the Board of Directors for We Day and Free the Children, and has been honored with the United Way of New York City’s Power of Women to Make a Difference Award. She was named a Matrix Award Honoree by New York Women in Communications; Advertising Woman of the Year by the Advertising Women of New York; a New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award Honoree; and was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement. She has been honored as one of Crain’s New York Business’s 50 Most Powerful Women in New York and Advertising Age’s 100 Most Influential Women in Advertising, as well as number one on Business Insider’s 30 Most Powerful Women in Advertising list.

Michael Lynton — New Board Member

Michael Lynton is Chairman of Snap Inc., makers of Snapchat. Michael served as Chairman and Chief Executive of Sony Pictures Entertainment from 2004 to 2017 and was also Chief Executive of Sony Entertainment Inc. from 2012 to 2017. He led global operations for Sony Pictures Entertainment, including motion pictures, television and digital content production and distribution, as well as home entertainment acquisition and distribution, operation of studio facilities, and the development of new entertainment products, services and technologies.

Prior to his time at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Michael started Disney Publishing at The Walt Disney Company, and also served as president of Disney's Hollywood Pictures. Following this, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pearson’s Penguin Group, extending the Penguin brand to music and new media. In 2000, he joined Time Warner as CEO of AOL Europe, President of AOL International, and President of Time Warner International.

Michael serves on the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the American Film Institute, as well as the boards of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, the Rand Corporation, and IEX Group. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the UK government’s Film Policy Review group.

Also serving on the Comic Relief USA Board are: co-founder of Comic Relief UK and Red Nose Day Richard Curtis (writer-director and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate), Andy Cook (General Manager, bgC3/Bill Gates Catalyst 3), Christy Gibb (Practice Manager, Social Sector Practice, McKinsey & Company), Richard Hofstetter (Partner of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC), Paul Telegdy (President of Alternative & Late Night Programming, NBC Entertainment) and Rick Trowbridge (CFO and Sr VP Operations of the non-profit Americares).

“We are truly honored to welcome such talented and accomplished industry leaders to the Comic Relief USA and Red Nose Day family.” said Janet Scardino, CEO of Comic Relief USA. “We are so grateful for their expertise and commitment as we continue to grow and engage millions more Americans behind our cause - ending child poverty.”

About Comic Relief USA

Comic Relief USA is an American charity using the power of entertainment to drive positive change to help those who need it most in America and around the world. Our campaigns include Red Nose Day, Idol Gives Back, and Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief, which raised over $62 million in 2017.

About Red Nose Day USA

Red Nose Day in the United States is a fundraising campaign run by the non-profit organization Comic Relief Inc., also known as Comic Relief USA, a registered U.S. 501(c)(3) public charity. Red Nose Day started in the U.K., built on the foundation that the power of entertainment can drive positive change, and has raised over $1 billion globally since the campaign’s founding in 1988. Since launching in the U.S. in 2015, Red Nose Day has raised over $100 million, which has positively impacted more than 8.3 million children, both in America and abroad. Money raised goes to the Red Nose Day Fund, which supports programs that keep children in need safe, healthy and educated.

Grantee Partners include the Boys & Girls Clubs of America; charity: water; City Year; Children's Health Fund; Covenant House; Feeding America; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; International Rescue Committee; Laureus Sport for Good; Oxfam America; Rotary/End Polio Now; Save the Children; The Global Fund; and UnidosUS. Red Nose Day has received generous support from millions of Americans, hundreds of celebrities and many outstanding partners, including Walgreens, NBC, Mars, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information about Red Nose Day and its impact, visit Follow @RedNoseDayUSA on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


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