People/Biz

Exclusive: Abby Greensfelder steps down as Half Yard co-CEO to develop new venture

Half Yard Productions, a division of Red Arrow Studios, has undergone a new corporate structure that will see co-CEO and executive producer Abby Greensfelder step down from her post at the ...
January 24, 2019

Half Yard Productions, a division of Red Arrow Studios, has undergone a new corporate structure that will see co-CEO and executive producer Abby Greensfelder step down from her post at the end of February.

Greensfelder (pictured, right), who founded Half Yard alongside fellow former Discovery exec Sean Gallagher (left) in 2006, will step back from overseeing day-to-day operations at the company. She will remain a co-owner and shareholder in the Say Yes to the Dress production outfit, and will sit on the company’s executive board with what the company calls “an active role in corporate direction and strategy.”

As a result, Gallagher will assume the title of sole CEO for Half Yard on March 1. Like Greensfelder, he was previously co-CEO and executive producer for the company.

Greensfelder is stepping aside to focus her efforts on developing a new company that champions and supports the voices of women in all forms of media.

“I feel very fortunate that I’m able to run Half Yard and produce the content that we do, but I also have this opportunity to be able to play a role in shaping our culture,” Greensfelder tells Realscreen. “It’s really about trying to galvanize women’s voices in media and culture, and also supporting authentic portrayals of women in culture and bringing those two together.

“I think it will actually be broader than television, not necessarily just in TV or in digital, but in the content space in general,” she adds. “Activating women’s authentic voices, women talent, women storytellers and even supporting women to take leadership positions in our industry – those are all things that I’m interested in, and formulating the shape that will take in this new venture.

“That’s something I’ve thought about for a really long time, being a woman in this business, but now I’m in a position to do something about it and I’m very excited about that.”

It’s too early for Greensfelder to spill the beans on her new company’s name, her plans on staffing up or whether she will need financial backing. Instead, the veteran executive will focus on talking to “a lot of smart people” in an attempt to conceptualize the next steps to ensure a smooth and successful launch.

“I’m purposely going to do my homework and spend a lot of time talking to smart and interesting people, and then put those plans into place,” Greensfelder explains. “When you start something, you want to make sure you’ve thought all the pieces through ahead of time. I’ve got some different ideas and thoughts, but before I announce the name or what exactly it is, I want to make sure that I have those pieces in place first.”

Since taking the decision to step back, Greensfelder says she has been “singularly focused” on setting Half Yard up for success and building out a “next generation team” alongside Gallagher to lead the company into the future.

As such, the Bethesda, Maryland-headquartered prodco has promoted a number of execs, both in the creative and operations sectors, to oversee the company’s day-to-day.

“I’ve been focused on that to make sure the company’s in a great place, which it is. We’ve got a great pipeline, a great team – it’s exciting for me to be able to put them in a place to shine and let them do their best work.”

The company’s restructure sees the creation of two new senior roles for executives Rosanna O’Hop and Nicole Sorrenti. The newly created roles will be effective March 1.

O’Hop, Half Yard’s chief financial officer, will become chief operating officer. With the expanded title, she will oversee all finance, production management and post-production operations at the prodco.

Sorrenti, meanwhile, will be promoted to the post of chief creative officer and will manage all of Half Yard’s production and development. She was formerly VP of programming.

In addition, Gallagher and Greensfelder have elevated long-time executives Janice Mezzetti, previously VP of production and operations, to SVP of production and operations; and John Jones, previously an executive producer, to VP of production and development.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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