Discovery has restructured its European business following the promotion of Susanna Dinnage, who took global control of Animal Planet this month. Kasia Kieli has been named President and Managing Director of Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Kieli, who has worked for the factual brand for 17 years, previously oversaw Discovery operations across 112 markets in Central Europe, Middle East and Africa. It now will bring together its business units in this region as well as in the UK, Nordics and Southern Europe.
The new role encompasses Discovery’s free-to-air and pay-TV networks as well as direct-to-consumer portals including Dplay as well as sports network Eurosport.
Separately, James Gibbons becomes General Manager for the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand as well as Head of Commercial Development, EMEA. Gibbons, who has been with the firm for 18 years, previously worked in the CEEMA region. Marinella Soldi will take on an expanded role as Chief Strategy Officer, EMEA & Managing Director, Southern Europe, reporting to Kieli.
Earlier this month, Animal Planet became the first Discovery-owned channel to be managed globally with Dinnage, who previously was Discovery UK boss, handed control of the network.
Discovery Networks International CEO and President JB Perrette 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.”
Kelli added: “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.”