CES 2014: Discovery Communications extends CEO tenure through 2019

Michelle Clancy | 06-01-2014

Discovery Communications has extended president and CEO David Zaslav's employment contract through to the end of the decade.

"David has done a superb job," said Discovery director John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media, Discovery's parent. "He built a strong management team that has expanded the company's reach and relevance, increased its market share domestically and around the world, and created a bigger, stronger portfolio of brands. We look forward to working with David to do more of the same over the next six years."

Since joining Discovery as CEO in January 2007, Zaslav and his management team have overseen a global expansion at the company by doubling the total number of Discovery networks around the world from 100 to nearly 200, growing global cumulative subscribers over 50% to 2.2 billion, and completing the company's largest acquisition of SBS Nordics in 2013. Discovery's channels are now distributed in more than 220 countries making it the number one international pay-TV programmer in the world.

"David has done a terrific job over the past seven years," said Discovery director Robert Miron. "This long-term commitment is equity-based, and continues to align David's performance with the company's growth and the ongoing creation of shareholder value. We are excited that David and his first-rate management team will continue driving growth across Discovery's global assets for the remainder of the decade."

In 2008, Discovery Communications became a fully public company and since that time its total market capitalisation has increased from $6 billion to over $30 billion currently. Over this period, the company's overall profits have tripled, US market share has grown from 5% to more than 10%, and the company has launched a number of new network brands including Investigation Discovery (ID), Velocity, Destination America and OWN, a joint venture with Oprah Winfrey.

"Securing David for the next six years recognises his value to the enterprise, and provides continuity, strong leadership, and his trademark high energy to Discovery for many years to come," said John Hendricks, founder and chairman of Discovery Communications.

Term of employment is through 31 December, 2019, and makes Zaslav a significant long-term shareholder in Discovery Communications. Zaslav has committed to hold the majority of his equity from stock grants to term.