Discovery re-groups upper management

Discovery Communications recently implemented a slew of organizational changes to its senior management group that are designed to streamline operations and increase synergy between Discovery's various entities. The changes see new boards created to control content and an expanded role for many of its executives.
March 1, 2001

The Content Board was among the bevy of new titles and divisions born in Discovery Communication’s latest re-organization. Chaired by John Hendricks, Discovery’s founder, chairman and CEO, the Content Board is responsible for directing content and branding strategies for all the networks, as well as approving programming and marketing budgets and their implementation plans. As a company-wide body, the Content Board will also develop brand-defining programming and marketing initiatives, such as the Watch With The World events.

Accompanying Hendricks on the Content Board are: Judith McHale, president and COO of Discovery Communications; chief financial officer Greg Durig; Donald Baier, now executive VP for strategy and development; Johnathan Rodgers, divisional president, Discovery Networks U.S.; divisional president, Discovery Networks International Dawn McCall; Rick Rodriguez, senior VP for programming and production, DNI; and John Ford who was appointed president of the Content Group, Discovery Networks U.S.

The office of Strategy and Development will ensure the role of the Content Board is implemented. This is one of two new corporate offices created to ensure efforts are coordinated throughout the company. Both it and its administrative sibling – the office of Corporate Operations – will report directly to McHale. Donald Baer takes the title of executive VP for strategy and development, while Mark Hollinger becomes executive VP for corporate operations and general counsel. In addition to guiding their respective offices, Baer and Hollinger will jointly manage all company-wide activities related to new business development, strategic alliances, joint ventures and acquisitions.

The Content Group, Discovery Networks U.S. (not to be confused with the Content Board, which has a more global outlook), was formed to handle content development and programming operations for all of the U.S. TV and internet businesses. The department will be led by Johnathan Rodgers, who also oversees content creation for Discovery Communications’ U.S. internet and interactive service initiatives. Online will be editorially aligned with the TV networks in the U.S. and internationally, but the services will continue to be developed as separate products. John Ford was named president of the Content Group and will report to Rodgers.

Working to maintain and grow customers at all levels will be the Consumer Products Division. Headed by Michela English, divisional president, Discovery consumer products, this new division combines the staff and assets of Discovery’s retail stores, mail order catalogs, e-commerce, licensing and branded products business.

Sitting on Discovery Communications’ executive committee is: Hendricks, McHale, Durig, Rodgers, McCall, English, Baer, Hollinger and Pandit Wright, executive VP for human resources and administration.

For additional appointments, please see People on the Move.

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