Sweetshop Founding Partners Melanie Bridge and Sharlene George have been appointed Global CEOs.
Over two decades ago, the award-winning director Bridge, producer George, joined chairperson Paul Prince to launch the New Zealand-based production company. After guiding the company’s evolution from the inside, the founding partners, Bridge and George, are stepping into Co-CEOs’ roles.
The duo will replace Wilf Sweetland, who after five years, is stepping back from his Global CEO position. Sweetland had been with The Sweetshop for a total of 12 years, having started out by overseeing the company’s Australian business. He leaves the role to achieve a more apt work-life balance, said Sweetshop.
Sweetland added: “It has been such a pleasure to be involved with everyone at The Sweetshop and to play a part in this great company, producing some of the best work in the world. I thank Paul dearly for his support and guidance over the years, and I’m thrilled that my successors Sharlene and Melanie are leading as Co-CEOs into the next chapter.”
Splitting the responsibilities is a strategic set-up for the duo, and their complementary skillsets enable them to drive the company forward more effectively said Sweetshop.
“Sharing the CEO job plays to each of our strengths perfectly,” said Bridge.
“Sharlene’s skills are more in the production areas, while mine focus more on the creative. My experience as a director is a wonderful asset, as every executive decision comes through this filter.”
George has recently been working on longer-form content and will now bring that in-house. The Sweetshop will continue to produce crafted commercials and expand into documentary and scripted feature films, digital and television series, and ambitious, outside-of-the-box branded content. George and Bridge aim to support the directors on their roster who have their eyes set on the long form as well as those who already have a knack for critically-acclaimed features.
“Our global reach allows us access to the best the industry has to offer—but we are still the same Kiwi Company that started in 2001, one that upholds values of kindness, inclusion, sustainability and ingenuity,” said George.
“Our heritage as a brand is important to us, and we’re also really mindful about keeping the company modern and fresh.”
“I am very excited to circle back to where we started and reconnect with the company’s roots. Sharlene and Melanie are two of the most experienced, passionate, hardworking and smart people I know,” said Paul Prince, who will continue to serve as board chairman.
“Of course, I have so much gratitude for Wilf and everything he has done for The Sweetshop. A global production company has many moving parts, and his strength in production and relationships has been an enormous asset. We wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.”
Sweetshop has offices in L.A., London, Shanghai, Bangkok, Sydney, Melbourne, and the Auckland flagship.