David M. Zaslav
President and CEO
David Zaslav sets the strategy and oversees all operations of the world's #1 nonfiction media company that reaches more than 2 billion cumulative subscribers in 224 countries and territories. Discovery Communications is dedicated to igniting curiosity and delivering the thrill of discovery through 195 worldwide television networks and a diversified portfolio of digital media properties, including leading Internet video production company Revision3.
Since taking the helm at Discovery in January 2007, Zaslav has executed a number of initiatives that have focused the organization on growth, performance and operational efficiency. Under his leadership, in September 2008, Discovery began trading as a public company on the Nasdaq stock exchange and he has directed a strategic effort to clarify and strengthen Discovery's world-class brands, including a renewed focus on creativity and a two-fold increase in investment in original content.
As part of this strategy, in 2008, Discovery launched Investigation Discovery, which has been one of the fastest-growing cable networks in the U.S. since its debut, and the company has premiered such iconic programming as the award-winning natural history trilogy Planet Earth, Life and Frozen Planet. Discovery also has partnered with Oprah Winfrey to launch OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Hasbro to launch The Hub children's and family network, and with Sony and IMAX to launch 3net, the first 24x7 3D television network.
Internationally, under Zaslav's leadership, Discovery has rolled out TLC as an international female-targeted flagship network, now available in more than 160 markets and the most widely distributed female-targeted entertainment and lifestyle channel brand in media. Additionally, in 2013, Discovery expanded its international operations with the acquisition of SBS Nordics, a top-three portfolio of television brands across Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland that feature leading nonfiction content, as well as locally produced entertainment programs, sports and the best scripted series and movies from major studios. The company also has focused on investing in resources and talent to strengthen its global content pipeline, including the acquisition of UK-based independent production house betty.
In 2009, Zaslav was honored by the by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) with its Forces for Nature award for his vision and leadership in driving Discovery's ongoing commitment to embracing "green" as a corporate value and developing the highest quality programming that celebrates the wonders of our planet for audiences around the world. He also has spearheaded Discovery Impact, the company's corporate social responsibility programs, which leverage the power of Discovery's brands, businesses and employees to give back and make a difference in the communities where they live and work through initiatives such as the annual Discover Your Impact Day of global employee volunteerism.
Prior to Discovery, Zaslav had a distinguished career at NBC Universal. As president of Cable and Domestic TV and New Media Distribution, Zaslav oversaw content distribution to all forms of TV, led negotiations for cable and satellite carriage of NBC Universal networks, and forged innovative new-media partnerships, including a pioneering video-on-demand deal with the leading cable operator, Comcast. Zaslav also brought films and TV shows to consumers through new paths including the Internet, cell phones and other wireless devices.
Zaslav joined NBC in 1989 and was instrumental in developing and launching CNBC that same year. He played a key role in creating MSNBC in 1996. His responsibilities extended to Bravo, CNBC World, SCI FI, ShopNBC, Sleuth, Telemundo, Telemundo Puerto Rico, mun2, Trio, Universal HD, USA Network, NBC Weather Plus and the Olympics on cable. Zaslav also oversaw NBC Universal's interests in A&E, The History Channel, The Biography Channel, National Geographic International, the Sundance Channel and TiVo.
Before joining NBC, Zaslav was an attorney with the New York firm of LeBouef, Lamb, Leiby & MacRae. He graduated with honors from Boston University School of Law. Zaslav serves on the boards of Sirius XM Radio, Inc., Univision Communications, Inc., the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, The Cable Center, Center for Communication and Skills for America's Future. He also is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Paley Center for Media, the Mt. Sinai Medical Center and previously served as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, where he created and taught a graduate-level course on the business of cable television.
In 2007, Zaslav received a Trustees Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.