Discovery announces new leadership ahead of Scripps merger
March 3, 2018 11.10 Europe/London By Robert Briel
Discovery Communications is shaking up its executive ranks ahead of its merger with Scripps Network Interactive.
“Today’s announcement is another major milestone in combining these two fantastic companies into a new kind of media company with the most trusted portfolio of real life entertainment brands in the world,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery.
“Upon closing, each division will have a best-in-class leader focused on quickly integrating the combined teams to create new ways for advertisers and distributors to reach highly targeted audiences at scale; capturing operating efficiencies across both companies; and driving innovation to continue telling great stories and nourishing our passionate, loyal superfans around the world across every consumer screen, service and platform.”
TLC President Nancy Daniels has been elevated to the new role of chief brand officer, putting her in charge of the Discovery Channel, Discovery’s flagship cable network, and the Science Channel.
Daniels will replace the departing Rich Ross, a former chairman of Walt Disney Studios. Ross joined Discovery in 2014 with the intent of bringing more scripted programming to the network.
The new line-up will see two Scripps executives getting roles in the new management team. Kathleen Finch, chief programming, content and brand officer for the six Scripps networks, will be chief lifestyle brands officer of the combined company, overseeing 12 networks.
Jon Steinlauf, the president of national ad sales and marketing for Scripps Networks, will oversee ad sales for the combined company, as chief U.S. advertising sales officer. He’ll lead the ad sales, consumer products and licensing efforts. Ben Price, Discovery’s president of US ad sales, will report to Steinlauf, as will Leigh Anne Brodsky, evp of Discovery Global Enterprises.
Jean-Briac (“JB”) Perrette, currently serving as president and CEO of Discovery Networks International, will continue in that role.
Susanna Dinnage, currently serving as global president of the Animal Planet network in the US and Animal Planet brand worldwide, will continue in that role.
Howard Lee, who is EVP of development and production for TLC and general manager of Discovery Life, has been promoted to president and general manager of both networks.
Several other Discovery execs will remain in their current roles. Henry Schleiff will still head up Investigation Discovery, Destination America and American Heroes Channel, while Erik Logan continues as president of OWN.
The press release also said: “Current Scripps Networks executives not assuming roles in the company going forward will participate in the integration process following close to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities.”
Last June, Discovery Communications announced its intention to acquire Scripps Networks Interactive. Last week, Discovery received DoJ approval for the take-over.