Argonon hires Story Street exec & launches US division to seek acquisitions

UK-based production group Argonon is opening a new division in the US to explore acquisition opportunities and has appointed an exec from Dance Moms prodco Story Street as part of its expansion strategy in the country.

Argonon USA is being headed by the company’s founder and CEO James Burstall, supported by Shirley Escott, who was most recently COO at the company’s US prodco Leopard USA.

The company is also appointing a West Coast ‘advisor’ to explore acquisition opportunities for the group as it looks to expand in the US. Burstall described the launch of Argonon USA – which will now encompass House Hunters International producer Leopard USA – as “another landmark” for the group, adding that he is looking for companies in both the production and digital space “to help us drive expansion across the continent.”

He added: “The opening of our new West Coast base will open up new conversations and we’re hugely excited by the opportunities this will present in a fast-changing content world.”

Dance Moms

Leopard USA leaps on Schwartz

As part of the new State-side focus, Argonon has hired Lindsay Schwartz as chief creative officer for Leopard USA, who will work out of the LA office and reports into Burstall and Escott.

She joins from The Content Group’s Story Street – acquired from Kew Media Group earlier this year and previously known as Collins Avenue – where she was SVP of development, working on shows including Dance Moms and numerous others.

As part of the restructure, Argonon has also made a series promotions across the Leopard USA team. Corporate controller Matt Widmayer is upped to Leopard USA New York bureau chief and Livvy Clackett becomes executive in charge of production. Jillian Brand remains as SVP of development across the whole of Leopard USA.

Burstall said: “The next phase in the group’s evolution will expand our horizons and broaden our content ambitions in the US, where we will be investing in talent as we grow out of the Covid-19 climate.

“The appointment of the hugely impressive and talented Lindsay Schwartz as Leopard USA CCO in our new West Coast bureau will enable us to build the company out further, expanding both our range of content genres and potential network partners.”

Schwartz added: “It’s the perfect time to join this talented team and help power the next phase of growth, both on the East and West Coast. Our ambition is to identify popular new formats across a range of genres and take Leopard Films USA to the next level.”

Argonon houses production companies including The Masked Singer’s UK prodco Bandicoot, Leopard Pictures – behind BBC drama Worzel Gummidge – and factual outfits such as BriteSpark Films, Windfall Films and Like A Shot.


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