Discovery Promotes O'Neill, Other U.S. Networks Execs


Discovery Communications has shuffled the deck at its U.S. Networks division, handing additional responsibility to brand captains Eileen O’Neill, Marjorie Kaplan and Henry Schleiff.

As part of a commingling of the two flagship networks under one business unit, O’Neill has been named group president, Discovery and TLC Networks. A 21-year Discovery veteran, O’Neill was appointed president and general manager of TLC in July 2008.

While a new TLC chief has not been identified, O’Neill is expected to tap a general manager in the next few weeks. TLC’s chief operating officer, Edward Sabin, will serve as acting general manager, while the search for a replacement is conducted.

Clark Bunting will continue to steer Discovery Channel as president and general manager, reporting to O’Neill.

After a four-year stint as the head of Animal Planet Media, Kaplan will add oversight of Science Channel to her list of responsibilities as president of the newly formed Animal Planet and Science Networks unit. Debbie Myers, general manager of Science Channel, will now report directly to Kaplan. 

Lastly, Henry Schleiff, president and general manager of ID: Investigation Discovery and Military Networks, will assume stewardship of emerging networks Planet Green and FitTV. Laura Michalchyshyn will retain her post as president and general manager of the two channels, reporting to Schleiff.

Discovery said that no jobs were made redundant in the reorganization.

In a note to staffers, Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav said the company is still attempting to determine “the strongest creative strategy for these networks to realize their full growth potential in the future.”

The restructuring reduces the number of high-level executives reporting directly to Zaslav. “The goal with these strategic changes is to have all levels of the organization infused with more creativity, innovation and risk taking, and to create a leadership structure that gives our top talent the authority to push our brands to their fullest,” Zaslav said. “In addition, I believe this structure will streamline decision making and boost creative collaboration. Under these executives’ strong guidance, I have no doubt that the best is yet to come for our U.S. portfolio.”

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