Former Discovery and National Geographic executive John Ford (pictured) will head up the Nonfiction Producers Association (NPA) as general manager.
Ford, who currently helms programming for multicast channel Justice Network, succeeds former NATPE CEO Rick Feldman, who served as the year-old non-profit trade group’s executive director before stepping down in May.
Founded last July, the organization fosters best practices in documentary and nonfiction television production while also serving as a source of information and assistance for producers. Its membership includes 34 production companies primarily based in New York and Los Angeles.
“Having worked over the course of 30 years as both a network and creative executive, I know first-hand how critical it is to nurture and maintain independent production,” Ford said in a statement. “The unscripted business is unique in demanding that producers be creative and collaborative, and outstanding entrepreneurs.”
“John Ford has been instrumental in the evolution of the unscripted television business,” added the NPA’s board of directors in a collective statement. “His measured, hands-on approach helped establish several global TV networks, while his creativity and expertise as a programmer puts him in sync with the prolific producers who make up the NPA.”
Ford held senior positions at Discovery Networks from 1989 through 2003, including president of new media, president of content for Discovery Networks U.S., founding president of Discovery Health Channel and executive VP and GM of TLC. He then spent four years as executive VP of programming at National Geographic Channel before returning to Discovery in 2007 to lead Discovery Channel for two years and later head up all programming and marketing.
Before he formed Justice Network this past January, Ford ran his own consultancy group and worked as a content advisor for U.S. cable nets and broadcasters. The exec will continue to serve as head of programming at Justice Network, alongside his duties with the NPA.