Discovery Promotes Duo to EVP Under Abruzzese

O’Sullivan, Felenstein to split oversight of national ad sales teams

Discovery Communications has split its ad sales portfolio into twin divisions, with Scott Felenstein overseeing Discovery Channel, Science, Velocity, Military Channel, and Destination America while Sharon O’Sullivan will take control of TLC, Animal Planet, ID: Investigation Discovery and Discovery Fit & Health.

Both Felenstein and O’Sullivan were elevated to evp of national ad sales. They previously served as svps.

Discovery also promoted Scott Kohn to svp, regional ad sales, where he’ll oversee the Chicago, Atlanta and Detroit sales offices. Kohn previously served as vp for the Midwest region.

Felenstein and O’Sullivan will serve as coequals under ad sales president Joe Abruzzese.

Having reupped with Discovery last summer, Abruzzese has two years remaining on his current contract. And while CEO David Zaslav has cautioned analysts against using “the ‘R’ word” (retirement) with reference to the 64-year-old sales boss, it seems evident that the two promotions offer an advance preview of the media conglomerate’s not-so-distant future. 

That said, expect Zaslav to pull out all the stops to try and get another cycle out of his sales ace when his contract runs out. As Zaslav confided to Adweek last spring, “I told Joe, ‘We leave together.’ He’s going to be here for a long time.”

Abruzzese and his team last year booked $1.46 billion in ad sales revenue, marking a 9 percent improvement from $1.34 billion in 2011. That year-ago sum represented another 9 percent increase versus the 2010 haul. Much of last year’s gains were made as a result of increased pricing and higher dollar volumes at the emerging networks.