Discovery Communications Aligns Business Operations Across EMEA And Names New Leadership Team

–KASIA KIELI ELEVATED TO PRESIDENT & MANAGING DIRECTOR OF EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

 –MARINELLA SOLDI EXPANDS ROLE TO CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER EMEA & MANAGING DIRECTOR SOUTHERN EUROPE

 –JAMES GIBBONS APPOINTED GENERAL MANAGER UK/IRELAND, AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND, AND HEAD EMEA COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT

London, November 30, 2017: Discovery Communications is transforming the structure of its regional businesses across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), to consolidate its position as the global leader in real-life entertainment across all screens and services, and create an environment that will optimize the core business while driving new areas of growth.  Effective immediately, Kasia Kieli has been named President & Managing Director, EMEA.

Discovery has made substantial investments across EMEA in recent years, from its acquisition of Eurosport and premium sporting rights, including the Olympic Games from 2018-2024, to new direct to-consumer digital products such as Dplay, which features popular entertainment and sports programs in Italy, Norway, Sweden and Denmark; and through its partnership with ProSiebenSat1 in Germany on a streaming service featuring the best content from both companies. Discovery also has made significant progress in the growth of its sports streaming service across Europe, the Eurosport Player.

KASIA KIELI ELEVATED TO LEAD EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA
 In the new position, Kieli will accelerate Discovery’s consumer and product-focused operating model across its biggest revenue region.  By consolidating business units that were previously split into the UK, Nordics, Southern Europe and CEEMEA, one cohesive leadership team can be focused on optimizing the core business while driving new areas of growth.

A 17-year Discovery veteran, Kieli previously managed operations across 112 markets that formed Discovery’s CEEMEA operations, which she transformed from a basic channel distribution operation into a thriving, locally relevant organization it is today, offering pay TV, free to air and digital products on two continents.

JEAN-BRIAC PERRETTE, CEO & PRESIDENT, DISCOVERY NETWORKS INTERNATIONAL, SAID:
“Kasia has demonstrated great vision and determination with unmatched expertise in managing what is probably one of the most complex and diverse regions in the world.  EMEA represents our largest region in terms of revenue as well as the focus of considerable investment in the past and big ambition for the future. I have no doubt that under Kasia’s strong and effective leadership, we will see our combined EMEA organization continue to grow to new heights and in unimaginable ways.”

KASIA KIELI, PRESIDENT & MANAGING DIRECTOR OF DISCOVERY EMEA SAID:
“I joined Discovery in 2000 because I loved the brand, believed in its values and saw the opportunities it was creating. I still share that very same excitement with millions of viewers who come to watch our programs every day to be entertained, inspired, and amazed. After 17 years, my belief in Discovery is stronger than ever. It is an exhilarating time as we can now offer our fans so many new ways to engage with the content they love through multiple partnerships, platforms and devices.”

BUILDING A NEXT-GENERATION MEDIA COMPANY WITH CONSUMER FOCUS
As part of the new operation, Kieli has announced a new leadership team for Discovery’s EMEA business including expanded responsibilities for Marinella Soldi and James Gibbons, who will both report to her in the new structure.

  • Marinella Soldi will take on an expanded role as Chief Strategy Officer EMEA & Managing Director Southern Europe, reporting to Kasia Kieli. Soldi will continue to leverage her successful track record of running free-to-air, pay TV and digital services with the local management teams in Italy, Spain, France and Portugal.  In addition, Soldi will create and lead a new Consumer Insights & Product Development function and the Content organization for EMEA and Discovery Networks International.  This expanded role will ensure that her innovative spirit, strategic thinking, creative leadership and business acumen is leveraged across the wider organization.
  • Soldi helped transform Discovery Italy from an exclusively pay TV business to a multi-platform media player.  Discovery now boasts a 7% portfolio share in Italy, making it the third largest national broadcaster and is building a substantial digital consumer streaming service through its Dplay product.

NEW LEADER FOR DISCOVERY’S OPERATIONS IN UK/IRELAND, AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND 

  • James Gibbons is appointed General Manager UK/Ireland, Australia & New Zealand and Head of Commercial Development EMEA.  In his new role, Gibbons manages the UK market which is a major hub for Discovery and consists of 14 brands reaching 26 million people every month.  He will build on the success of the existing UK team and identify new growth opportunities for this key market.  He also adds the Australia and New Zealand channel businesses to his responsibilities.  The similar culture, demographics, language and programming strategy of these markets informed these additional changes.  Gibbons also becomes responsible for developing existing and new commercial relationships and business development opportunities across EMEA.
  • Gibbons has been with Discovery for more than 18 years, working in management roles and territories across the globe.  Most recently he served as General Manager for Emerging Business and Head of Product & Business Development for the CEEMEA region.  He spearheaded transformative partnerships in territories such as Turkey, Africa, the Middle East and Germany, significantly expanding Discovery’s presence in these territories.  He also led the growth and consolidation of its Japanese business in his role as President of Discovery Japan.
  • Gibbons succeeds Susanna Dinnage, who was promoted to the newly created position of Global President, Animal Planet, earlier this month.

###

About Discovery Communications:
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) satisfies curiosity and captivates superfans around the globe with a portfolio of premium nonfiction, lifestyle, sports and kids content brands including Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe. Available in more than 220 countries and territories, Discovery’s programming reaches 3 billion cumulative viewers, who together consume 54 billion hours of Discovery content each year. Discovery’s offering extends beyond traditional TV to all screens, including TV Everywhere products such as the GO portfolio and Discovery Kids Play; over-the-top streaming services such as Eurosport Player; digital-first and social video from Group Nine Media; and virtual reality storytelling through Discovery VR. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.