Discovery Names Leadership Team After Scripps Acquisition

Discovery Communications, cleared to acquire Scripps Networks Interactive, on Thursday (March 1) announced new management for the combined company.

Among the top Scripps execs taking prominent roles are Jon Steinlauf, who will be chief U.S. advertising sales officer. Ben Price, currently president of U.S. ad sales for Discovery, will report to Steinlauf, along with Leigh Anne Brodsky, currently executive VP of Discovery Global Enterprises.

Scripps’s programming chief, Kathleen Finch, will become chief lifestyle brand officer for the combined company with oversight of HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, Discovery Life, American Heroes Channel, Destination America, Great American Country and Lifestyle Digital Studios in the U.S.

Related: Discovery to Shut Down Maryland HQ, Move to New York

Henry Schleiff will continue as group president for ID, Destination America and American Heroes Channel. Howard Lee, currently executive VP, development & production for TLC and general manager of Discovery Life, will be the new president and GM for TLC and Discovery Life, effective immediately. Both Schleiff and Lee will report to Finch upon closing of the transaction.

Nancy Daniels, currently president of TLC, will assume the new role of Chief Brand Officer, Discovery & Factual, effective immediately. Daniels will lead all aspects of the Discovery Channel and Science Channel brands. Rich Ross, currently group president of Discovery Channel and Science Channel, will be leaving the company.

“Today’s announcement is another major milestone in combining these two fantastic companies into a new kind of media company with the most trusted portfolio of real life entertainment brands in the world,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO, Discovery Communications. “Upon closing, each division will have a best-in-class leader focused on quickly integrating the combined teams to create new ways for advertisers and distributors to reach highly targeted audiences at scale; capturing operating efficiencies across both companies; and driving innovation to continue telling great stories and nourishing our passionate, loyal superfans around the world across every consumer screen, service and platform.”

Related | Scripps Networks Interactive Has Higher 4th Quarter Profit

Other executives who will be reporting to Zaslav include:

Gunnar Wiedenfels, currently Discovery’s CFO, who will be CFO for the combined company.

Jean-Briac Perrette, currently president and CEO of Discovery Networks International, will continue in that role for the combined company.

Bruce Campbell, currently chief development, distribution and legal officer for Discovery, will continue in that role. Leading the combined company’s linear, non-linear and mobile distribution efforts in the U.S. & Canada will be Eric Phillips, president, affiliate distribution, reporting to Campbell. Discovery’s General Counsel, Savalle Sims, will retain that role for the combined company, also reporting to Campbell.

Adria Alpert Romm, currently serving as Chief Human Resources and Global Diversity Officer for Discovery, will continue in that role for the combined company.

Susanna Dinnage, currently serving as Global President of the Animal Planet network in the U.S. and Animal Planet brand worldwide, will continue in that role.

Erik Logan, currently serving as president of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, will continue in that role and report to the OWN Venture board of directors.

Karen Leever, currently serving as executive VP and GM, Digital Media U.S., and Mike Lang, currently serving as president, Discovery Networks International Digital & CEO TEN/MotorTrend, will continue in those roles for the new company reporting to Zaslav.

Current Scripps Networks executives not assuming roles in the company going forward will participate in the integration process following the deal's close to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities, Discovery said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.