Discovery Communications just broke the glass ceiling at its board room by tapping C-SPAN co-CEO Susan Swain to join the all-male body beginning December 7.
She’ll fill a new seat created as the company raised the number of directors to 11. Swain will be deemed an independent director — meaning she isn’t a part of the company’s management — and join the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
Up to now, Discovery was the only Big Media company that did not have a female director.
Swain joined C-SPAN in 1982 and worked her way up the ranks to Co-Chief Operating Officer in 2006 and her current job in 2012. She’s in charge of content strategy and programming at C-SPAN’s three TV channels, radio station and websites.
“Her skills and expertise honed at C-SPAN will add tremendous value to Discovery’s board as we look to move the company forward in this time of enormous change and opportunity across the industry,” Chairman Robert Miron says.
CEO David Zaslav calls Swain a “strong executive and accomplished cable programmer and author.”
Swain was a director at Talbots from 2001 to 2012 when Sycamore Partners bought the retailer.
Earlier this year Discovery opposed a shareholder resolution calling for it to amend its Corporate Governance Guidelines to add a commitment to diversity and prepare a report on the steps it was taking to include women and minority candidates in the pool of nominees to the board.
Discovery said that the proposal “would be distracting and time consuming” adding that its director nomination process “allows for identification of the best possible nominees for director, regardless of their gender, racial background, religion or ethnicity.”
The motion was defeated at its annual meeting in May.