Multi-channel YouTube network Maker Studios announced today that former company chairman Ynon Kreiz will now be serving as executive chairman effective immediately. Before joining Maker, Kreiz built and ran entertainment companies like Endemol and Fox Kids Europe.
This announcement comes as a surprise as Kreiz will be replacing Maker Founder and former CEO Danny Zappin. According to a press release, Zappin will continue to serve as an advisor to Kreiz and remain a board member.
Speaking about Zappin’s role at Maker, Kreiz explained, “Danny has done a great job and I look forward to working with the leadership team to continue to continue to develop Maker as a global platform,” said Kreiz.”
Since its inception in 2009, Maker has grown to house some of YouTube’s biggest names including The Yogscast channel and musician Mike Tompkins. Maker currently boasts over 3 billion monthly online views with 15,000 plus channels, making the network one of the largest multi-channel networks working within YouTube.
Zappin’s step-down as CEO comes almost a year after a dispute between former Maker partner Ray William Johnson and Zappin went public. After accusing the network of not releasing his Adsense account, Johnson released a series of threatening texts from Zappin including one which read, “f*ck you. Prepare for war… b*tch.”
The dispute over Johnson’s Adsense account still hasn’t been settled. The “=3” creator recently tweeted: “fyi- All of my contracts with Maker Studios have expired, and they’re still refusing to give back my Adsense account. The lawsuit starts now.”
Kreiz will be stepping into the leadership role in what looks like a booming financial period for the network as last year Maker raised $36 million from a variety of investors including Time Warner.
Kreiz spoke about the new position saying: “Maker has creativity in its DNA which is why it has such a strong talent-first approach. I joined the company because I believed it would be one of the most important players in online video and I see this happening more than ever today.”