IDW has announced that Chris Ryall is stepping down from his post as President, Publisher, and Chief Creative officer to “pursue new business opportunities.”
According to the press release, Ryall will transition to an advisory role and will maintain his position as executive producer on Locke & Key based on the IDW title. Ryall will also continue as editor on the title and any further publishing projects in the foreseeable future.
“Change is often hard, and I will miss this extended family I have worked with for more than 15 years,” said Ryall. “In the past year alone, we brought on some amazing hires, expanded the scope of many of the departments, and re-focused the foundation of the business to best support the integrated multi-media company that IDW has become. Our collective success with the entertainment team on ‘Locke & Key’ has been a crowning moment for the entire company. I’m so proud of this special place and the incredible people who work here. I know that I leave IDW perfectly poised for continued success.”
Ryall will partner with Ashley Wood and several other creators to launch a new storytelling venture called World of Syzygy.
“After the wonderful experience this past year serving as an Executive Producer on Locke & Key and working with the amazingly creative team that brought the show to life, I look forward to bringing exciting new stories into the world through many different storytelling forms,” Ryall added. “I’m thrilled to be back working alongside Ashley Wood, as well as other creators to come, in developing interesting projects for our World of Syzygy venture.”
Besides Locke & Key, IDW’s Wynonna Earp has also been developed for television, with the fourth season finally making its premiere on Syfy recently. IDW Publishing also recently signed a multi-year initiative with the Smithsonian Institution. The television deals have been touted as having the potential to get the company back in the black for 2021, as financial reports show that IDW Holdings are $26 million in debt at the end of 2019.
Howard Jonas, IDW’s Chairman, said, “Chris has been instrumental in IDW Publishing’s success, and we thank him for the passion and commitment he brought to the company. We wish him all the best in his new ventures. With Chris’s departure, IDW will be restructuring and expanding its operations, and we will name a new management team very soon.”
Ryall posted on Twitter, saying the news was released earlier than expected.
Well. This news is a bit sooner than we'd all intended–so if I didn't get a chance to notify some of you directly as I'd hoped, apologies–but hey, there's always a big announcement on Tuesday leading into #SDCC, right? https://t.co/BGreP0G8zq
— Chris Ryall (@chris_ryall) July 22, 2020
Replacing Ryall will be Jerry Bennington and Jud Meyers as the company’s new President and Publisher, respectively. Rebekah Cahalin has been promoted to General Manager and EVP of Operations, covering both IDW Publishing and IDW Entertainment. “As IDW accelerates its growth trajectory as a fully integrated multi-media company, we are very fortunate to have Jerry Bennington and Jud Meyers to assume these key roles at IDW Publishing,” said Ezra Rosensaft, IDW’s CEO. Rosensaft was recently promoted from CFO to CEO of IDW Media Holdings, and came to IDW after nearly 15 years at HBO. “We are equally as fortunate to have Rebekah Cahalin step into the GM and EVP of Operations positions. All three executives are already valued and vital members of the IDW team as well as inspiring leaders. I have no doubt that they will accomplish great things in their new positions,” he added.
Bennington currently serves as IDW Publishing’s Executive Vice President of Product Management. He’ll oversee IDW Publishing’s strategic business units and work to establish product partnerships to expand the IP portfolio. As EVP of Product Management, Bennington established new business units including IDW Limited and IDW Games, and he increased IDW Publishing’s stable of licensed IPs including the notable additions of Batman the Animated Series, Dragon Ball Z, Metal Gear Solid and Usagi Yojimbo. Prior to joining IDW Publishing, Bennington was the President of 3 Point Entertainment where he helped develop specialty licensed merchandise, and served as the VP of Marketing for The Upper Deck Company’s Upper Deck Games.
“As a long-standing member of the IDW team, I am thankful for the opportunity to build on Chris Ryall’s work leading the company to product excellence and providing our readers with richer, deeper, and more meaningful experiences,” said Bennington. “Collaborating with our valued customers and partners around the globe, we will achieve unparalleled quality and memorable stories and characters to be shared by family and friends.”
Meyers is the Sales Director for IDW Publishing, and will now oversee all aspects of production and publication as Publisher. He began his career at Titan Publishing in London and helped launch and manage several comic book retail shops in the UK. He also owned stores in Los Angeles and served as Director of Sales & Marketing for Humanoids Publishing. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to step into this role and help continue IDW’s legacy of quality storytelling,” said Meyers. “We have a wealth of talented creators and a brilliant editorial and production staff helping to shape our stories. In the coming months, we’re going to add to our family, and we will continue to deliver the greatest licensed content in comics, expanding and shaping the global reach of all of our licensors and their brands.”
Cahalin joined IDW in 2009, advancing within the company’s production and digital publishing divisions leading up to her current position as General Manager and Head of Operations. As the new General Manager and EVP of Operations, she’ll oversee and integrate all operations and business activities. “I am so excited to work not only with the IDW Publishing team, but also everyone at IDW Entertainment,” said Cahalin. “This new role provides a tremendous opportunity to enhance our operational infrastructure to further drive company objectives, and make this a truly holistic environment.”
“I’ve been incredibly proud of the work the executive team and all of IDW has done in my time back with the company, and I wish them all the best with the exciting things the company has planned,” Ryall said.