Wikia, the collaboratively published entertainment, gaming, and lifestyle content network, has named Craig Palmer to the position of chief executive officer recently vacated by Gil Penchina. The company said it was now well positioned for a new growth phase.

Palmer most recently was president and CEO of Gracenote, the digital media content and technology company embedded in hundreds of digital media brands. During his eight year tenure, Palmer grew the company in revenue, size and scope, and led it through its acquisition for $260 million by Sony Corp. of America. Before Gracenote, Palmer held leadership positions with Aspect Development, eWanted, Cadence Design and Hewlett Packard.

“Craig is a perfect fit for Wikia’s next stage of growth, which will rely on efficient processes that can help us rapidly scale our community, revenue, and profit,” Penchina said in a statement. “Craig’s history of building successful businesses in content, online media, and technology makes him well-equipped to lead Wikia.”

Wikia also appointed Jennifer Betka as its new senior vice president of Marketing. Betka previously built brand and audience development for companies including AOL, Time Warner, Veoh, Sirius XM, and the Los Angeles Times.

Launched in 2004 by co-founders Jimmy Wales (who also founded Wikipedia) and Angela Beesley, Wikia is a collaborative publishing platform that enables people around the world to discover, create and share content on any topic, and which attracts more than 50 million global unique visitors per month. Its 275,000 wiki sites are written by community members that are passionate about subjects ranging from video games, TV shows and movies to food, fashion, and current events.

Wikia gives people with in-depth knowledge and interest in any particular topic a platform for engagement with others who share that interest. For example, the five most popular entertainment Wikia sites at the moment are: Wookieepedia, for all things related to Star Wars; Narutopedia, for fans of the Naruto anime and manga; Harry Potter Wiki; Memory Alpha, a reference encyclopedia for Star Trek; and Tardis, which covers Doctor Who and related properties like Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, and K9.

“With Craig and Jennifer’s vision and leadership added to our already stellar executive team, Wikia is going to move fast through the next growth phase,” Wales said. “We’re ushering in a new standard of user experience, welcoming the person who goes beyond the ‘like’ button to generate something of value to themselves and their communities.”

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Photo by flickr user avatar-1/Tim Bartel, used under Creative Commons license