On the eve of NATPE, Sandy McGovern unexpectedly announced her departure from National Geographic Channels Worldwide. The former Channels president has struck out on her own to
form McGovern Media, a Washington-based media consultancy firm which will count National Geographic as one of its clients, possibly through corporate sponsorship initiatives.
‘It seemed like a logical time for me to leave,’ says McGovern. ‘We’d gotten 60 countries, and 50 million households in nine languages and it was time for somebody who’s got a different kind of skill-set than I do. And I’m really exhausted…’ McGovern has spent a great deal of the last eight years on the international circuit both for National Geographic and, previous to that, the Discovery Channel. Free of her Nat Geo commitments, she hopes to be able to devote more time to both her personal life and her own business interests, which include some on-line efforts and twelve percent ownership of a camera product company.
McGovern Media will give the former ngc president an opportunity to get involved in several new projects at once, enlisting help as she needs it. ‘I think the skills that I have – which are getting involved in marketing and developing strategic alliances, as well as global branding and international contacts – are ones which are high on a lot of people’s lists now in terms of what they need.’ McGovern, however, does not plan to jump at any immediate job offers.
A National Geographic spokesperson said that the broadcaster has hired an outside executive search company to help fill the vacancy, but at press time no candidates could be confirmed. According to the source, McGovern’s sudden but amicable departure will not affect the broadcaster’s U.S. launch, which is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year.