Ascendant Digital Acquisition Corp. III
- Entertainment, Music, Gaming, Technology
Mark Gerhard, 44, has been our Chief Executive Officer and a Director since January 2021. Mr. Gerhard has been the Chief Executive Officer and a director of Ascendant I since March 2020. Mr. Gerhard has been the Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer of Disruptional Ltd (f/k/a Playfusion Ltd), an artificial intelligence technology and gaming studio that is involved in creating a next generation mixed-reality platform, since January 2015. Mr. Gerhard was previously the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer of Jagex Game Studios, a British independent game developer and publisher, and the creator of Runescape, a popular video game. Mr. Gerhard is also the Vice Chairman of TIGA, a British trade body for video game developers and publishers. Mr. Gerhard is also the Founder of Ministry of Data, a developer of cybersecurity solutions. Mr. Gerhard was also previously the Principal Security Officer at Gtech from 2007 to 2008. Mr. Gerhard has over 15 years of experience in the digital entertainment industry. We believe Mr. Gerhard is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of his extensive experience in the Attention Economy sector.
Riaan Hodgson, 51, has been our Chief Operating Officer and a Director since January 2021. Mr. Hodgson has been the Chief Operating Officer and a director of Ascendant I since March 2020. Mr. Hodgson has been the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Beauty Labs International Ltd, a technology company that provides AI applications for beauty brands, since January 2020. Mr. Hodgson has also been a director of Cambridge Venture Partners since January 2015, where he acts as an investor and advisor, focusing on technology and games. Previously, Mr. Hodgson was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Disruptional Ltd (f/k/a PlayFusion Ltd). From April 2008 to January 2015, Mr. Hodgson was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Jagex Game Studios. Mr. Hodgson is a chartered accountant and has a finance degree from North-West University. We believe Mr. Hodgson is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of his finance experience in the technology industry.
David Gomberg, 48, has been our President and a Director since January 2021. Mr. Gomberg has been the President and a director of Ascendant I since March 2020. Mr. Gomberg has been the Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Disruptional Ltd (f/k/a PlayFusion Ltd) since January 2015. Mr. Gomberg has also been the Co-Founder of Beauty Labs International Ltd and Just Won’t Die Ltd since December 2019 and August 2019, respectively. He has also been the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lazoo Worldwide Inc., a developer of transmedia properties and mobile applications, since January 2010. Mr. Gomberg was previously the Chief Web Officer of Bunk1.com, a provider of web services for summer camps, and the Vice President of Nextoy, where he conceived, marketed and licensed products to global toy companies. Mr. Gomberg has over 20 years in the digital entertainment industry. Mr. Gomberg received a B.A. degree from Duke University in 1995. We believe Mr. Gomberg is qualified to serve on our board of directors due to his vast experience in the digital entertainment industry.
Mickie Rosen, 53, will serve on our board of directors following the completion of this offering. Ms. Rosen has been a director of Ascendant I since July 2020. Ms. Rosen has been a principal at Mickie Rosen Consulting since October 2013, where she advises and serves on the board of directors of early, growth stage, and public companies. Ms. Rosen has served as a member of the board of directors of Nine Entertainment Co. (ASX: NEC) since March 2017. Ms. Rosen also served as a director of Pandora Media (NYSE: P), from October 2015 to February 2019, where she served as the chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee and as a member of the compensation committee. In addition, Ms. Rosen was the president of the Tribune Publishing Company (NYSE: TPCO) from October 2017 to January 2019 and was a senior advisor at the Boston Consulting Group from January 2016 to October 2017. Ms. Rosen was a co-founder and partner of a strategic advisory firm, Whisper Advisors. She was also the senior vice president of Global Media & Commerce for Yahoo, where she led Yahoo’s media division worldwide. Prior to Yahoo, she was a partner with Fuse Capital, a consumer Internet-focused venture capital firm, investing in early stage video, publishing, advertising technology and e-commerce companies. Prior, Ms. Rosen was the senior vice president & general manager of entertainment for Fox Interactive Media, where she ran digital businesses such as Rotten Tomatoes, Fox.com and MySpace Entertainment, and played a lead role in envisioning, negotiating and launching over-the-topp (“OTT”) leader, Hulu. Earlier in her career, she was an executive with Fandango, where she helped build the movie information and ticketing company from an early stage start-up to the leader in its space (acquired by Comcast), and The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) in the Corporate Alliances group. Ms. Rosen built the foundation of her career with McKinsey & Company. Ms. Rosen holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. We believe Ms. Rosen is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of her extensive experience operating as an executive and entrepreneur, providing advisory services to, and serving on, the boards of directors of various companies in the media and technology industry.
Michael Jesselson, 69, will serve on our board of directors following the completion of this offering. Mr. Jesselson has been a director of Ascendant I since July 2020. He has been president and chief executive officer of Jesselson Capital Corporation since 1994 and was an early investor in internet startups such as ICQ Mirabilis, which was sold to AOL. Mr. Jesselson served as a lead independent director of American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO) from November 1997 to May 2017. He has been on the board of directors of XPO Logistics (NYSE: XPO) since 2016 and currently serves as its lead independent director. Prior to that, he worked at Philipp Brothers, a division of Engelhard Industries, from 1972 to 1981, then at Salomon Brothers Inc. in the mortgage-backed security trading department. He has been a director of C-III Capital Partners LLC, Clarity Capital and Cricket/EPals since 2012, 2014 and 2016, respectively, as well as numerous philanthropic organizations. Mr. Jesselson also serves as the chairman of Bar Ilan University in Israel (since 2016). We believe Mr. Jesselson is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of his experience as an independent director of public companies.
Diane Nelson, 53, will serve on our board of directors following the completion of this offering. Ms. Nelson has been a director of Ascendant I since July 2020. Ms. Nelson most recently served as chief operating officer, content at Quibi (from January 2019 to November 2019). Prior to that role, she spent 22 years at Warner Bros. Entertainment in a wide variety of roles spanning the entire company, most recently as President of DC Entertainment (“DCE”) (from September 2009 to May 2018) and president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products (from May 2015 to May 2018), where she was charged with leading the efforts to fully realize the power and value of DCE’s rich portfolio of stories and characters, including such cultural icons as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, across all media and platforms. Ms. Nelson also served as president and chief content officer of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (from May 2013 to December 2016), where she was responsible for overseeing the development of a slate of top-tier digitally powered console and mobile games, as well as other Warner Bros. properties and original intellectual property. Among various other positions at Warner Bros., Ms. Nelson managed the Harry Potter franchise across the company from 1999 through the release of the eighth movie in 2011. Ms. Nelson came to Warner Bros. from Walt Disney Records, where she served as director of national promotions from May 1993 to September 1996 after a brief two months at Disney Software. She began her career in account management at Foote, Cone & Belding advertising agency (from October 1990 to April 2003). Active in philanthropy, Ms. Nelson has served on the board of There with Care, a non-profit organization that supports families with children affected by critical illnesses, since 2005. She has also served on the board of directors of GoNoodle.com since March 2019 and is a member of the executive branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Ms. Nelson is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. We believe Ms. Nelson is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of her extensive experience in the media and entertainment industry.
Bob Foresman, 52, will serve on our board of directors following the completion of this offering. Mr. Foresman has been a director of Ascendant I since July 2020. Mr. Foresman served as vice chairman of UBS Investment Bank (NYSE: UBS), based in New York, from October 2016 to April 2020. Mr. Foresman was also chairman of OOO UBS Bank in Russia as well as UBS Group country head for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States region (“CIS”) from January 2018 to April 2020. Prior to joining UBS, Mr. Foresman was the Barclays Group (OTC: BCLYF) country head (from December 2009 to April 2016) for Russia and the wider region, where he represented and coordinated the activities of Barclays Group in the region, including investment banking and wealth management. Prior to his work at Barclays, Mr. Foresman was deputy chairman of Renaissance Capital (from August 2006 to November 2009, chairman of the management committee for Russia and the CIS at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (from January 2001 to June 2006) and head of investment banking for Russia and the CIS at ING Barings (from August 1997 to December 2000). Mr. Foresman also ran the Ukrainian Privatization Advisory office of the International Finance Corporation (“IFC”) from June 1993 to November 1995 in Kyiv and worked on private equity and project finance transactions as an investment officer at IFC’s head office in Washington, DC, from December 1995 to July 1997. Mr. Foresman served as an independent non-executive director of TMK Group (MCX: TRMK), a producer of steel pipes for the oil & gas industry, from June 2012 to June 2019. Mr. Foresman has been a member of the Board of Counselors of the East West Institute since September 2012; a member of the advisory board of Harvard University’s David Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies since January 2016; and a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations since March 2015. Mr. Foresman graduated from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences in 1993 and Bucknell University in 1990. Mr. Foresman also received a certificate from the Moscow Energy Institute in 1989. We believe Mr. Foresman is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of his global experience as an investment banker.