Fast-growing investment firm Candle Media has hired former UTA and Disney execs as its chief development officer and CFO.
Brent Weinstein will lead development for Candle and joins from US-based agency UTA, where he was a partner and served as chief innovation officer.
He oversaw divisions including live events, podcasting and NFT’s, as well as co-managing UTA’s insights and news divisions, while also playing “a central role” on integrating acquisitions.
During his tenure, he worked closely with Brian Robbins in the creation, development and ultimate sale of AwesomenessTV, and created Keywords Press, an influencer-focused publishing imprint in partnership with Simon & Schuster.
Salil Mehta, meanwhile, becomes CFO, having held senior roles at Disney, ESPN, Comcast/NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox. He was most recently CFO of Forest Road Acquisition Corp, a blank check company led by Candle chiefs and former Disney execs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs.
Mehta has previously been president of FoxNext Games, where he engineered the sale of the business to Scopely, and worked with Mayer at Disney, where he oversaw the Mouse House’s ad-supported digital businesses.
Candle, which recently added Fauda producer Faraway Road to its rapidly expanding list of acquisitions, said the two executives would “work closely with Mayer and Staggs to help drive Candle’s strategic, operational, and investment priorities.”
Weinstein will oversee new business development with an emphasis on social media, creator economy, ecommerce and blockchain-based internet opportunities, while Mehta will oversee Candle’s overall financial operations in conjunction with the finance teams inside each of Candle’s business units.
Both will be based in LA, reporting to the co-CEOs Mayer and Staggs. Mehta’s appointment was effective January 3 and Weinstein is expected to join 1 February.
“We’ve known both Brent and Salil for many years and they are a fantastic addition to our core team at Candle,” said Mayer and Staggs. “Each brings substantial experience and expertise, and they will be instrumental in facilitating growth across our portfolio of companies and helping us identify new investment and business development opportunities.”
Candle is backed by US investment giant Blackstone and has quickly established itself as a major player in M&A since launching in 2021, recently taking a minority stake in Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Studios for an undisclosed sum.
This followed a $900m deal for Reese Witherspoon’s Big Little Lies producer Hello Sunshine in August 2021 and a $3bn deal for CoComelon outfit Moonbug in November.