New Discovery CEO Lines Up His Team

Zaslav Says Good-Bye to President Billy Campbell

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NEW YORK ( -- Just weeks into his new role as CEO of Discovery Networks, David Zaslav is rearranging house. In a statement issued to his new company today, Mr. Zaslav expressed a desire to "create a lean and aggressive organization," which will begin with the elimination of the president position and its current title holder Billy Campbell.
David Zaslav
David Zaslav

Led way to ratings gains
Mr. Campbell had worked with the company for five years and led Discovery and TLC to double-digit ratings gains. Also leaving is David Abraham, TLC president-general manager. He will leave his post at the end of March, with a search to replace him effective immediately. Marjorie Kaplan, president-general manager of Animal Planet Media and Discovery Kids Media assumes the duties of Maureen Smith, Animal Planet Media general manager, whose position has been eliminated and who will leave the company.

Under a new structure, general managers of Discovery's five major brands will take on president-like responsibilities. So Ms. Kaplan takes charge at Animal Planet and Discovery Kids. A new president will be found for TLC. The other top managers of the other networks assume president titles: Jane Root was named president-general manager of the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel; Pat Younge is now president-general manager of Discovery Travel Media; Len Tacconi is now president of Discovery Health Media Enterprises.

"These leaders will assume additional authority over key business functions including production, marketing, new media, communications and research and will have dedicated brand support from advertising sales and business development," Mr. Zaslav said in his statement. "More direct control of these functions is an essential part of our strategy to empower managers in charge of the company's growth businesses. These network brand groups will become the primary creative engines across the company's TV and distribution platforms."

More focus on digital
Another part of Mr. Zaslav's reorganization is the creation of Discovery Studios and an Emerging Networks Group to lend more manpower to the company's growing multiplatform and HD initiatives. Former MTV Networks International chief operation officer Greg Ricca steps in for Dawn McCall as the new president-CEO of Discovery Networks International.

"These changes are substantial," Mr. Zaslav said in the statement. "The goal is to maintain Discovery's leadership as the No. 1 nonfiction media company in the world, while clarifying responsibilities, improving financial performance and ultimately creating more shareholder value."
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