EXCLUSIVE: Ben Priest has joined Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smiths Westbrook Inc. as executive vice president, new business development, the company announced on Wednesday.
In his new role, Priest will lead all new ventures outside of Westbrook’s core business in the Studio and Media businesses and oversee the company’s consumer branding operations, including the Good Goods merchandise business. At the same time, he will introduce new industries within the Westbrook portfolio that advance the company’s mission of empowering artists to tell stories that connect the world.
Priest will take up his new position with immediate effect and report to Westbrook CEO Ko Yada.
“I’ve known Ben for a long time. He’s an innovative, out-of-the-box thinker with an incredible wealth of experience building brands, developing strategic partnerships, and growing businesses, ”said Yada. “We’re excited to have him join the Westbrook team to help us grow our consumer offerings.”
“I am very excited to come to Westbrook. This role was literally created for me and I am grateful for the opportunity to join the team on this journey. I find Westbrook’s mission very powerful, ”added Priest. “Will, Jada and the family provide this incredible platform and purpose, and when they are connected with such a world-class business and creative industries team, the future looks very bright.”
Priest is a Los Angeles-based company director and entrepreneur who most recently ran the Americas region for McLaren Technology Group, overseeing marketing partnerships, technology and business innovation, new business development, expansion into new industries, and overall brand growth of F1 and McLaren in the United States
Prior to joining, he spent a decade in the sports agency business spanning talent advancement, marketing and business development. He began his career by founding his own motorsport-oriented talent and marketing consultancy and then headed the Americas region for the motorsport marketing powerhouse JMI, which later became London’s CSM Sport & Entertainment.
Will and Jada Pinkett Smith co-founded Westbrook with Yada and Miguel Melendez in 2019. The media company is home to the premium film and TV studio Westbrook Studios; vertically integrated IP incubator, brand content studio and production company Westbrook Media; Red Table Talk Productions, responsible for the popular Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk and Red Table Talk: The Estefans; and Good Goods, which manufactures consumer goods derived from the company’s intellectual property and existing talent partnerships.
Westbrook curates and produces content in the media of digital traditional television and film for all platforms. The news of the priest’s hiring follows an announcement we brought to you for the first time summer, a hip-hop musical based on the hit song of the same name by Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff, which Westbrook Studios is developing with Davis Entertainment for Screen Gems from Sony Pictures.