Ex-Nick Exec Russell Hicks take over Top Draw Animation

Ex-Nick Exec Russell Hicks take over Top Draw Animation

International animation veteran Wayne Dearing, who is best known as the founder of Manila-based Top Draw Animation, will step down in 2022. He has named former Russell Hicks as successor to lead the studio. The former Nickelodeon executive will lead its Philippines-based studio Top Draw Animation, while serving as chief content officer of L.A.-based Curiosity Ink Media.

Top Draw employs more than 400 people in Manila. Dearing founded Top Draw Animation 22 years ago. His company dedicated to premium animation production services that now produces hundreds of hours of animated content annually. Since its inception, Dearing has built an enviable client roster of global entertainment providers including Netflix, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, Cartoon Network and several other programming services. After spearheading the sale of Top Draw to Grom in 2016, Dearing remained at the helm to champion the commitment, pride, professionalism, and dedication of the studio’s 400+ animation professionals.

Hicks, who was former president of content development and production at Nickelodeon, will continue to serve as Chief Content Officer for Curiosity Media Ink, the entertainment company he founded I 2016. Before founding Curiosity, Hicks spent almost two decades at Nickelodeon. As its chief creative officer, he oversaw series including Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants. He last served as the company’s president of content development and production.

California-based Grom Holdings (Grom Social’s parent company) purchased Top Draw in 2016 to increase its capacity for in-house content production. Grom is a content provider for children under 13. It places an emphasis on safe and educational content, and is compliant with COPPA. As of 2020, it claimed to reach 20 million aggregate users (parents and children included). The company has the distinction of having been founded by a 12-year-old, Zach Marks, in 2012.

Grom CEO, Darren Marks also confirmed that Grom Social Enterprises, Inc. has officially completed the acquisition of Curiosity Ink Media.Darren Marks added, “Wayne’s passion for animation is what built Top Draw into an incredible success story, and we are so proud to have its premium animation services as a centerpiece of Grom Social Enterprises. Wayne’s retirement leaves considerable shoes to be filled and we are so elated Wayne helped us recruit Russell Hicks to lead Top Draw Animation to its next level of success. Thank you, Wayne and welcome, Russell. Your collective talent defines the lifeblood pulsing through the new Grom. Cheers to you both!”

In addition to Top Draw, Grom Social Enterprises, Inc. also operates: Grom Social, a safe social media app for kids under 13; Grom Educational Services, a supplier of web filtering solutions used in schools, government, and private businesses; and Curiosity Ink Media, a producer and developer of original kid-friendly content.

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