Updated: 1/10/2022, 2:19 pm ET — added statement from Genius Brands.
There’s trouble brewing at Genius Brands International.
Just over a year after announcing that they’d be joining Genius Brands, Harold and Jennifer Chizick have made an exit from the company, effective immediately. With the move, the Chizicks also walk away from their companies: ChizComm and ChizComm Beacon Media.
“We are extremely disappointed to be leaving Genius Brands and ChizComm after less than a year of being with Genius Brands. However, our vision on how to best grow the Company does not align well with Genius Brands,” say Harold and Jennifer Chizick. “Last week, Genius Brands imposed organizational changes that reduced our role in the company and was a breach of our agreement with Genius Brands. Efforts to resolve this matter in an amicable fashion have been unsuccessful. We believe that we have been terminated on a ‘without cause’ basis and now have no choice but to depart the company and explore options for how to recoup the considerable sums remaining due to us.”
Genius Brands issued a statement in response declaring that “Harold Chizick and Jennifer Chizick, employees of the company’s ChizComm subsidiary, have been terminated for cause. The company believes this decision to be in the best interest of its shareholders and customers.”
According to Genius Brands, business at ChizComm and ChizComm Beacon Media will continue as usual. Donna MacNeil continues as President of ChizComm and Kathleen Campisano continues as global chief marketing officer and general manager of ChizComm Beacon Media.
“Genius Brands International is fully invested in the success of these subsidiaries and believes it will be more fully realized under Ms. MacNeil’s and Ms. Campisano’s leadership,” the company said.
Nearly nine years ago, following successful runs heading marketing and communications for Spin Master (twice) and MEGA Brands, Harold Chizick made the decision to take his knowledge of marketing toy and entertainment brands and set up shop on his own. On April 12, 2013, Chizick and his wife Jennifer opened ChizComm Ltd. as a full-service marketing and communications agency geared toward launching, marketing, and promoting toys, consumer products, and entertainment for kids.
With one client, Tech4Kids, ChizComm began operating from a single office in Toronto. Following rapid expansion and the acquisition of Beacon Media nearly three years ago, ChizComm now operates offices with flags planted firmly in Toronto, New Jersey, and Los Angeles. Under the terms of their acquisition, ChizComm Ltd. and ChizComm Beacon Media were to function as independently operating subsidiaries of Genius Brands International.
Upon the close of the deal in Feb. 2021, Harold was set to continue as CEO of both companies with Jennifer serving as chief operating officer of ChizComm Ltd. Additionally, Harold was named president of marketing, content sales and consumer products for Genius Brands.
“ChizComm staff is at the heart of everything we do. We want to thank this phenomenal team — past and present — that have contributed to building a great organization that prioritizes integrity, drive, and passion,” the Chizicks say. “And to the ChizComm client base, it has been an honor working in partnership to unlock opportunities and drive growth. Stay tuned for what we do next.”