SONAR ENTERTAINMENT NAMES DAVID ELLENDER NEW CEO

SONAR ENTERTAINMENT NAMES DAVID ELLENDER NEW CEO

Former CEO Tom Lesinski to Remain as Board Director

Leadership Team Includes Scott Packman, Matt Loze, Chan Park and Andrea Gorfolova

Leading independent studio Sonar Entertainment announced today that David Ellender, President of Global Distribution and Co-Productions, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer as Tom Lesinski moves to active Director of Sonar’s Board of Directors.  

Since joining Sonar Entertainment in 2016, Ellender has led worldwide program sales for the studio across traditional and digital media platforms for acclaimed international series such as Taboo, starring Tom Hardy, and The Son, starring Pierce Brosnan.  He’s also successfully overseen the company’s expansion into key markets, including Europe, Asia and Latin America.  In addition, Ellender has been instrumental in helping to build Sonar’s international co-production drama initiatives, adding Das Boot and Les Norton, among others into the company’s slate of offerings.

“David’s promotion to CEO is a testament to the transformative spirit he’s brought to Sonar and represents our belief in his ability to continue to evolve our company,” said Gabriel de Alba, Chairman, Sonar Entertainment and Managing Director and Partner at the Catalyst Capital Group.  “He has tremendous experience and understanding of the nuances and opportunities specific to the independent studio model.”

“As I move on to a new opportunity in the coming weeks, I am proud of the last five years of building Sonar into one of the leading independent TV production companies,” added Lesinski.  “With strong leadership, great talent and an exciting slate of new shows, we have positioned Sonar as a leader in creating premium scripted content for global audiences.  David has been fundamental to Sonar’s success, and I am confident he will excel in this new role and elevate the company further alongside Scott, Matt, Chan and Andrea.  I look forward to continuing to support the new team as an active Director of the Board.”

Lesinski’s tenure as CEO of Sonar Entertainment represents a pivotal time for the company as it experienced rapid growth.  Series under his tenure include Taboo, The Shannara Chronicles, The Son, Mr. Mercedes, Das Boot, The Hunt, Lorena and Weird City, among others.  Lesinski also expanded the company’s portfolio with family and factual content through the acquisition of Toronto-based Tricon Films & Television.

“I am thrilled about this exciting opportunity to assume this new role at Sonar,” said Ellender.  “We have a strong track record, an incredibly talented team and a diverse slate of projects laying the groundwork for continued success.  Sonar Entertainment has invested more than $370 million to television production since our inception in 2012 and I look forward to adding to our momentum as a leading independent studio.”

Senior leadership reporting into Ellender include Scott Packman, Sr. EVP, Chief Strategy Officer, General Counsel and Head of Business Affairs; Matt Loze, EVP, Development & Production; Chan Park, SVP, Finance; and Andrea Gorfolova, President, Family & Factual Entertainment.

Prior to Sonar Entertainment, Ellender served as CEO and Board Member for Slingshot Global Media, an independent television studio he founded in January 2014 to source, develop, fund, produce and distribute high-quality scripted content.  Earlier in his career, Ellender was CEO of Fremantlemedia Enterprises (FME) and served on the board of directors of Fremantlemedia Group.  He joined the company as Managing Director in 2001 and then was promoted to CEO in 2006. During his tenure at FME, revenues more than tripled.  He’s also held senior positions as Managing Director, Europe for Universal Studios Television Distribution and PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (PFE) where he served as Global President of TV and had a seat on the PFE Board.

Sonar Entertainment is currently in production on The Hunt for Amazon Prime Video and recently wrapped production on season three of Mr. Mercedes for AT&T Audience Network and Utopia Falls for Canada’s CBC Gem.  Sonar series that have aired in 2019 include Weird City for YouTube Premium; Lorena for Amazon Prime Video; Go Away Unicorn! for Disney; the second season of The Son for AMC; and Das Boot for Hulu.