Discovery Communications has announced a number of appointments at Eurosport and new roles created to support the company’s Olympic Games Strategy, having been awarded in June, all TV and multiplatform broadcast rightsto the 2018-2024 Olympic Games across Europe.
The company’s Olympic Games leadership organisation team will have five key functional areas:
1. Commercialisation – led by Jean-Thierry Augustin
2. Operations & Planning – led by David Schafer
3. Olympic Relations & Coordination– led by Géraldine Filiol
4. Engineering/Technology – to be appointed
5. Production – to be appointed
“Discovery is committed to elevating the excitement and engagement in the Olympic Games through our world-class storytelling, local market expertise, and Eurosport’s heritage of connecting fans with key Olympic sports all year long,” said JB Perrette, President, Discovery Networks International. “Since announcing the ground-breaking deal this summer, we already have selected three of five Olympic leadership roles, aligning our structure to ensure we have the best in class talent — both on the screen and within our organisation.”
In addition, Eurosport has appointed three new leaders for the following functions:
1. Business Development – led by Sameer Pabari
2. Marketing – led by Antonio Ruiz
3. Communications – led by Fiona McLachlan
“These talented leaders will support our ambition for Eurosport to be the preferred destination for sports fans. As we continue to invest in the programming, promotion and production values for Eurosport across all platforms, this team will deliver on our new brand promise to ‘Fuel Your Passion’ and immerse fans in the greatest sports moments,” said Peter Hutton, CEO, Eurosport.
Jean-Thierry Augustin has been appointed President, Sports Development & Olympic Commercialization. Having played a key role in securing the Games, Augustin will lead the Olympic Games Commercialisation function driving all Olympic sales and commercial opportunities. He adds the Olympic Games to his current remit and in his new position, Augustin will continue to report to JB Perrette and work closely with Peter Hutton and Discovery’s management teams across Europe.
David Schafer has been named Senior Vice President of Olympic Operations and Planning. Reporting to Peter Hutton, Schafer will be responsible for the planning and successful operation of Olympic Games coverage, lead the relationship with Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) and oversee smooth execution on all linear and digital platforms across Europe. In addition to leading the operations teams, Schafer will work with the regional businesses, sub-licensees and corporate functions to execute against the production strategy.
Schafer brings vast experience in sports production and Olympic Games broadcasting, having played a role in Olympic operations at NBC. Beginning his Olympic career at the Sydney 2000 Games, he has worked on seven Olympic Games and won three Emmy Awards for coverage in Beijing, London and Sochi. Previously, Schafer led Discovery Networks International’s digital media business, where he has been responsible for OTT and TVE products, network websites and content syndication.
Géraldine Filiol has been appointed as Vice President Olympic Relations and Project Coordination. Reporting to Peter Hutton, Filiol will be responsible for the Olympic project coordination and managing external stakeholder relationships with sub licensees, the International Olympic Committee and the International Federations. Filiol’s existing role as Eurosport’s Head of Marketing, Communications and External Relations has been split into two roles to provide greater focus on these business functions as Eurosport continues to super-charge its growth and re-ignite the brand to connect with fans.
Antonio Ruiz moves over from the Southern European arm of the business to become Eurosport’s Vice President of Marketing and Franchise Management. In this newly created role, he will be responsible for developing the overall brand and marketing strategy across affiliate sales, events and consumer marketing for Eurosport, partnering with Discovery’s regional teams to develop sport franchises within the Discovery portfolio.
Fiona McLachlan joins Eurosport as Vice President Communications and will be responsible for the full complement of corporate, consumer communications and event functions for the brand. Prior to her consulting career, McLachlan led an award-winning sports practice at Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s leading public relations firms, where she provided international strategic consultancy and campaign activations for brands, governing bodies and individuals in sport.
Sameer Pabari joins Eurosport as Vice President Business Development. In this newly created role, Pabari will be responsible for international business and commercial digital development across the Eurosport business. Dividing his time between London and Paris, he will work closely with Eurosport’s regional teams to seek out growth opportunities with a particular focus on expanding Eurosport’s digital offering. Pabari brings significant experience to the role having worked with some of the largest sporting brands on a global basis.
Before joining Discovery, Pabari was Managing Director for MP & Silva, responsible for their global digital and production business and commercial exploitation of digital rights. In this role, he oversaw the successful launch of the beiN SPORTS channels across Asia and developed the host broadcasting strategy for Formula E and the Asian Games. Previous to that, Pabari was Director of Media for Manchester United and also spent a number of years as a strategy consultant specialising in business transformation and mergers and acquisition across the media industry.