Discovery Communications has shuffled its executive team across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), bringing together several of its regional businesses together under one operation.
Effective immediately, Kasia Kieli will lead the banner as president and managing director, EMEA.
As part of the operation, Kieli has announced a new leadership team for Discovery’s EMEA business, including expanded responsibilities for Marinella Soldi and James Gibbons, who will both report to her.
In the new position, Kieli (pictured) is tasked with growing Discovery’s consumer and product-focused operating model across its biggest revenue region.
By consolidating business units that were previously split into the UK, Nordics, Southern Europe and CEEMEA, the company hopes that having one cohesive leadership team will mean an increased focus to advance core business while driving new areas of growth.
A 17-year Discovery veteran, Kieli previously managed operations across the 112 markets that formed Discovery’s CEEMEA operations. She’s credited with transforming it from a basic channel distribution operation into locally relevant organization, offering pay TV, free to air and digital products on two continents.
As part of the change, James Gibbons has been named general manager UK/Ireland, Australia and New Zealand and head of commercial development EMEA.
In his new role, Gibbons will manage the UK market, which features 14 brands. He will build on the existing UK team and identify new growth opportunities for this market.
Gibbson adds Australia and New Zealand channel businesses to his portfolio of responsibilities. He is also charged with developing existing and new commercial relationships and business development opportunities across EMEA.
Gibbons has been with Discovery for more than 18 years, working in management roles and territories around the world. He most recently held the position of GM for emerging business and head of product and business development for the CEEMEA region. He led partnerships in Turkey, Africa, the Middle East and Germany, expanding Discovery’s footprint in these territories. In his role as president of Discovery Japan, Gibbson shepherded the growth and consolidation of they company’s Japanese business.
Gibbons succeeds Susanna Dinnage, who was elevated to the newly created position of global president, Animal Planet, in November.
Marinella Soldi will take on an expanded role as chief strategy officer EMEA and managing director Southern Europe. She will continue to run free-to-air, pay TV and digital services, with local management teams in Italy, Spain, France and Portugal.
Soldi will also create and lead a new consumer insights and product development function and the content organization for EMEA and Discovery Networks International.
Soldi helped transform Discovery Italy from an exclusively pay-TV business to a multi-platform media player.