Title: President/CEO, Discovery Communications
Last Year: #18
Education: Cornell, transferred to SUNY Binghamton; law school
Why Him? In his short tenure at Discovery Communications, David Zaslav has wasted no time shaking things up. In fact, this former NBCU affiliate guru has proved to be an operational savant unafraid to strengthen what’s working and trash anything that’s not making the grade. Ratings down at Discovery Home? Clean house and rebrand it Planet Green. Discovery Health underperforming? Clean house and give it to Oprah Winfrey. TLC showing weakness? Put Eileen O’Neill in charge. Now that the economy has taken a terrible turn, Zaslav’s efforts are paying off. Ratings have improved at many nets. And in the 3rd quarter, Discovery’s revenues grew 11% vs 3Q 2007, driven by 16% and 6% growth at its international and domestic nets, respectively.
The terrible economy probably means lower ad revenue, but Discovery can weather the storm and Oprah will help.
Favorite Food: Grilled salmon, pretzels and hot tamales
Favorite Restaurant: Essa Bagel and Smith & Wollensky’s
Last Book Read: The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder
My Company Is Preparing for the Future by: Building strong brands that compete in the hyper-competitive global marketplace.
My Philosophy of Life Is: Swing for the Fences
My Favorite Word Is: Curiosity
My Least Favorite Word Is: Over-budget
Favorite Sports Team: New fan of Duke