Discovery’s Hendricks to Step Down as CEO

Discovery Communications Inc. founder John Hendricks plans to pass his role as CEO on to his top lieutenant, president and chief operating officer Judith McHale, in June.

Hendricks, currently chairman and CEO, will retain the chairmanship.

The changing of the guard comes as Discovery approaches its 20th anniversary in June.

Hendricks, 51, will step back from day to day operations to focus on long-term and strategic planning. He has been contemplating this move for about a year.

"The skill sets and passion of a founding entrepreneur are best channeled through a chairman role after a company has successfully navigated the challenges of early development and has clearly established a market leadership position within 20 years of the company’s founding," Hendricks said in a statement.

McHale, a 16-year Discovery vet, is already an integral player in day-to-day operations. Hendricks called McHale "the best business partner that a company founder could ever hope to have."