One thing’s clear in Silver Spring today. Change is here. Just one month on the job, Discovery Comm pres/CEO David Zaslav gathered his sr managers together Mon to inform them of a series of big changes—chief among them the ouster of Discovery Nets US pres Billy Campbell, who was at one time a candidate for Zaslav’s job. The theme to the restructuring seems to be less micromanaging and more accountability further down as Discovery works to become a "lean and aggressive" organization. "The media business is changing," Zaslav said in an interview Mon. "We need to refresh our organization and take money out of some of the old places that we were spending that aren’t garnering real return and value, and put more money against programming, marketing and new businesses and new media." As part of the restructuring, HR sr evp Pandit Wright is being shown the door. NBC TV Ent, News HR head Adria Alpert-Romm, who has worked with Zaslav for years, will take the post. The role of Animal Planet gm was eliminated with Maureen Smith leaving the company. Discovery Nets Intl pres Dawn McCall—a 20-year vet—is out, with Zaslav bringing in ex-MTV Intl exec Greg Ricca as pres/CEO of intl. Zaslav called the decisions "very tough." Next step will be to meet with the sr mgmt team and further drill down into this new philosophy (in other words, expect more changes). Tom Wolzien, formerly of Sanford Bernstein, is being hired as a consultant to work with sr mgmt on Discovery’s overall global growth strategy. And Zaslav appears ready to borrow from NBCU‘s syndication strategy, hiring Joel Berman to develop an aggressive syndie strategy. Zaslav has created 5 network brand groups that will report to him:
- Discovery Channel: Will continue to be headed by Jane Root (she also oversees Science Channel). * TLC: GM David Abraham is leaving the company at the end of March. He will lead English cable network group UKTV. A search will begin immediately for a new TLC gm. * Discovery Travel Media: GM Pat Younge will lead. * Family-Focused Networks: These nets will be grouped together, with Marjorie Kaplan being promoted to pres, gm Animal Planet Media and Discovery Kids Media. * Discovery Health Media Ent: Led by pres Len Tacconi. — Among other changes, ad sales and affiliate sales chiefs Joe Abruzzese and Bill Goodwyn will now report directly to Zaslav. Goodwyn is being promoted to president, domestic distribution and enterprises, with Discovery Education pres Steve Sidel reporting to him. Zaslav is also creating a sr business mgr post, similar to a COO, for each network brand group. They will oversee all business operations and administration. An internal and external search will begin to fill these spots. Zaslav said he expects to have positions filled over the next 3-6 months.