People/Biz

Higher Ground Productions shuffles exec team after film, TV head steps down

Higher Ground’s executive team received several new additions this week as Priya Swaminathan stepped down from her role as co-head of film and television. Swaminathan, departing later this summer, was the first hire the ...
July 30, 2021

Higher Ground’s executive team received several new additions this week as Priya Swaminathan stepped down from her role as co-head of film and television.

Swaminathan, departing later this summer, was the first hire the Obamas made at the company, and was an integral part of building Higher Ground, shepherding Academy Award-recognized documentaries American Factory and Crip Camp.

“We are so grateful to Priya for her tremendous impact at Higher Ground these past few years. From her work on American Factory and Crip Camp to launching our kids and family programs Waffles + Mochi, We The People, and everything in between, her work has laid a remarkable foundation for the future of Higher Ground,” Barack and Michelle Obama said in a news release.

The media company announced other new additions to the executive team on Wednesday (July 28). Among them was Joe Paulsen, who has been named head of business and strategy. Paulsen was formerly special assistant to the president at The White House and the deputy chief of staff. He’s worked with the Obamas since 2007, and has overseen Higher Ground’s creation.

Another change to the company’s executive team is Dan Fierman, who takes up the role of head of audio, where he’ll join creative director Anna Holmes. Fierman and Holmes oversaw the launch of The Michelle Obama Podcast, which became the most listened to Spotify Original podcast to date. They also oversaw Renegades: Born in the USA and the recently released Tell Them, I Am.

Mark R. Wright is also joining Higher Ground’s team as vice president of film and television, where he’ll concentrate on scripted features.

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is the Associate Editor at Realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.

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