Discovery Communications founder John Hendricks (pictured) is to retire as chairman of the company’s board of directors and as a director of the board, effective May 16.
In a statement issued this afternoon (March 20), Discovery said that 61-year-old Hendricks – who created and launched the Discovery Channel in 1985 - will remain in his current position through to the annual meeting of shareholders on May 16.
Discovery Communications president and CEO David Zaslav said: “Few words can appropriately convey what kind of person John is, or what he has meant to this company and the cable television industry overall.
“He is a true visionary, a man of enormous integrity and one of the world’s great entrepreneurs. On behalf of the 5,600 employees of Discovery Communications, I want to thank John for all that he has done, and all that he has stood for, as founder and chairman of Discovery for more than 30 years, and believing the world needed a different kind of media company – a purpose-driven media company.”
His retirement from the company he founded draws to a close a more than 30-year tenure with Discovery, which he served as CEO of until 2004. In a letter to the board, he said that he was stepping back so that he could travel the world and explore.
“Ten years ago in 2004, I decided it was just the right time for me to step down as CEO,” he wrote. “Now, 10 years later, with Discovery on such a strong growth path under David’s able leadership and a strong board of directors, I likewise feel this is the perfect time to depart from the board and from my role as chairman and as an executive of the company.
“For over three decades now, I have somewhat envied the legions of documentarians that we have employed who have traveled the world to bring great stories and experiences to our viewers. It is now finally time for me to go exploring! I plan to spend the next few years traveling the planet and discovering the questions and mysteries that intrigue us all.”
Read Hendricks’ full letter to the board here.