Justin Albert, VP of production for Animal Planet, has departed the Discovery family of channels to pursue an ‘independent venture’. Albert, who joined the Bethesda, U.S.-based company in late 2000 as VP of production and development for Discovery Digital Networks, has held his current post since November 2001. Albert was previously president of L.A.-based Mandalay Media Arts and managing director of TransAtlantic Films in the U.K.
In related news, Carole Tomko of Animal Planet is taking on expanded duties. She now operates under the title of VP of production and development. She was previously VP of development.
Dawn Airey has resigned from her position as chief executive of U.K. broadcaster Five (formerly Channel 5) to take on a new role at BSkyB. As the new managing director of Sky Networks, Airey will be responsible for all programming and channels, with the exception of Sky Sports. Until a permanent replacement has been found, Airey’s duties at Channel 5 will be taken on by the deputy chief exec Nick Milligan, who will become acting chief exec. Milligan will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the network.
The U.K.’s Office of Communications (Ofcom) has awarded the post of deputy chairman to Richard Hooper. Hooper was previously chairman of the Radio Authority, which regulates the territory’s commercial radio stations.
The U.K.-based lobby group Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) has appointed Tim Wilson as the new director of policy and Sarah Walker as director of marketing and communications.
Returning to Sony is Andy Kaplan, who will take on the position of senior executive VP of international networks at Sony Pictures Television International. Kaplan was formerly the executive VP of Columbia TriStar TV Group in 2000.
Peter Baxter, the cofounder and president of the Park City, U.S.
After three years at Lions Gate Entertainment, Jean Huang has left her position as VP of international sales. Huang has been appointed executive sales director for the U.S. and Asia for Montreal, Canada-based distributor Distraction Formats and will head up the company’s new Los Angeles, U.S. office.
National Geographic Television & Film (NGT&F) has announced the appointment of William Weil to the position of senior VP for marketing and business development. As the former VP in charge of Nickelodeon’s strategy group, Weil was involved in the launch of the cable networks TV Land and Noggin.