EXCLUSIVE: Susanna Dinnage, Global President of Animal Planet, is to leave Discovery. Deadline understands the Brit, who has been with the factual giant for over ten years, is leaving as part of a restructure that will see Animal Planet brought under Nancy Daniels’ purview.
Dinnage took charge of the animal-focused cable network in September 2017 when it became the first Discovery network to be managed globally. The network will now revert to the company’s factual division, which is managed by Daniels, Chief Brand Officer, Discovery & Factual, where she runs Discovery Channel and Science Channel, as well as overseeing the content strategy of Discovery’s upcoming factual streaming service.
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Fulham FC fan Dinnage, who will leave at the end of the year, has overseen the growth of the Pit Bulls and Parolees and Alaska Law channel, apart a brief flirtation with taking the top job at the English Premier League in 2018. In 2017, she narrowly lost out to former Shine Group boss Alex Mahon in the race to become Chief Executive of British broadcaster Channel 4.
Before taking on the Animal Planet role, she was President of Discovery Networks UK and Ireland and Chief Content Officer, International, where she was responsible for the management and strategic direction of the company’s 14 brands including Discovery Channel, Eurosport, TLC and Quest. She also led the International Content Group, Discovery’s London based production and development department, and was on the board of directors at All3Media, the Discovery and Liberty Global-backed superindie.
Prior to joining Discovery in January 2009, she helped launched Channel 5, which was later bought by Viacom, and worked at MTV Networks.
She said, “I have had an incredible decade at Discovery and been privileged to be part of such a purpose-driven, and truly global, company. As the world looks ever more closely at conservation, the past two years at Animal Plant have been particularly rewarding. It’s a very exciting time to be in the world of media and content and I look forward to the future.”
Discovery Inc. President & CEO David Zaslav said, in an internal note to staff seen by Deadline, that Dinnage had made an “enormous contribution” to the company.
He said, “As we thought about this new structure, we arrived at the difficult conclusion that there is no longer a need for a standalone president role for Animal Planet. Susanna Dinnage, who has been an integral and deeply valued member of our leadership team for a decade, is supportive of this decision and will step down from her role as Global President of Animal Planet and leave Discovery at the end of the year,”
“Susanna has made enormous contributions here, first in her role overseeing Discovery’s 14 UK brands and businesses and steering the London-based production and development department and, most recently, leading Animal Planet. Animal Planet will still very much exist as a linear network, just as Discovery Channel and Science do, but will now be part of this larger group. Over the next few weeks, Nancy and Susanna will work together to create a smooth transition and ensure that the Animal Planet team is set up to succeed in this new structure. Please join me in thanking Susanna for her outstanding leadership across so many parts of our global business and wishing her all the best,” he added.
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