Sonar Entertainment names CEO as Tom Lesinski steps down

Mr Mercedes

Sonar Entertainment, the US-based producer behind AT&T series Mr Mercedes and Amazon drama The Hunt, has promoted David Ellender to become CEO, with incumbent Tom Lesinski stepping down.

Ellender has been president of global distribution and co-productions at Sonar since 2016, leading international sales and working on shows such as Tom Hardy-fronted Taboo and The Son for AMC, which stars Piers Brosnan and had its second and final season earlier this year.

Scott Packman, exec VP and chief strategy officer, will now report into Ellender, along with: exec VP of development and production Matt Loze; senior VP of finance Chan Park; and family and factual entertainment chief Andrea Gorfolova.

Ellender is a former CEO at FremantleMedia Enterprises (now known as Fremantle) and went on to launch his own company, Slingshot Global Media, in 2014.

David Ellender

Lesinski, meanwhile, will become director of the Sonar’s board of directors but said that he is moving on “to a new opportunity in the coming weeks.” He has been behind MTV and Paramount Network series The Shannara Chronicles during his tenure at Sonar, as well as AT&T Audience Network show Mr Mercedes.

He was also behind forthcoming Amazon drama The Hunt, starring Al Pacino, and grew the company’s family content by acquiring assets from Tricon Films and Television, which went into administration in 2017.

Sonar chairman Gabriel de Alba said: “David’s promotion to CEO is a testament to the transformative spirit he’s brought to Sonar and represents our belief in his ability to continue to evolve our company.

“He has tremendous experience and understanding of the nuances and opportunities specific to the independent studio model.”

Lesinski added: “With strong leadership, great talent and an exciting slate of new shows, we have positioned Sonar as a leader in creating premium scripted content for global audiences.

“David has been fundamental to Sonar’s success, and I am confident he will excel in this new role and elevate the company further alongside Scott, Matt, Chan and Andrea. I look forward to continuing to support the new team as an active director of the board.”

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