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Campbell, Others Out in Discovery Shakeup

Discovery Networks U.S. president Billy Campbell is one of several top executives leaving the company under a shakeup and reorganization announced by Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav Monday.

Also leaving DCI are TLC president and general manager David Abraham, Animal Planet Media GM Maureen Smith, Discovery Networks International president Dawn McCall and DCI senior vice president of human resources Pandit Wright.

Zaslav, who was named CEO of DCI in November, formed an emerging-networks group that will include Military Channel, Discovery Times Channel, Discovery Home Channel and Discovery HD Theater. Each channel will have a GM, and Discovery is looking to recruit an executive to run the group.

“This was the first step in terms of setting up a structure and leadership team,” Zaslav told Multichannel News. “The message I wanted to send were clear: we’re de-layering -- we’re going to try to have a lean culture that’s really accountable for performance. Our priority will be to drive brand.”

He said he hopes to have the remaining positions filled within six months.

Other moves announced by Zaslav:

• The company is conducting a search for a new president of TLC, who will replace Abraham.

• Marjorie Kaplan was promoted to president and GM of Animal Planet Media and Discovery Kids Media, a new unit that includes Discovery’s family-focused networks.

• Former MTV Networks International chief operating officer Greg Ricca was named president and CEO of Discovery Networks International. He replaces McCall.

• Zaslav’s former NBC colleague, Adria Alpert-Romm, was named senior executive VP of HR. She replaces 12-year veteran Wright.

• Affiliate-sales veteran Bill Goodwyn was promoted to president of domestic distribution and enterprises. Discovery Education, run by president Steve Sidel, will report to Goodwyn, Zaslav said.

The company formed a new Discovery Studios unit that will house Discovery Production Group, Discovery Films and Discovery Creative Resources. Clark Bunting was named president of Discovery Studios.

Mark Hollinger was promoted to president of global business and operations.

Zaslav is also turning to consultants to help restructure the company. Former NBC and Sanford C. Bernstein consultant Tom Wolzien was retained as a consultant to help DCI “better clarify the company’s opportunities in digital television, the Internet and new-media platforms,” Zaslav said.

And former CBS/Paramount Television president of worldwide television distribution Joel Berman was signed as a consultant to help DCI monetize its library through domestic and international syndication deals.

-- R. Thomas Umstead contributed to this report.