Kieli named Discovery President & MD EMEA
December 1, 2017
Discovery Communications is transforming the structure of its regional businesses across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). As a result, effective immediately, Kasia Kieli has been named President & Managing Director, EMEA.
Discovery has made substantial investments across EMEA in recent years, from its acquisition of Eurosport and premium sporting rights, including the Olympic Games from 2018-2024, to new direct to-consumer digital products such as Dplay, which features popular entertainment and sports programs in Italy, Norway, Sweden and Denmark; and through its partnership with ProSiebenSat1 in Germany on a streaming service featuring the best content from both companies. Discovery also has made significant progress in the growth of its sports streaming service across Europe, the Eurosport Player.
KIELI ELEVATED TO LEAD EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA
In the new position, Kieli will accelerate Discovery’s consumer and product-focused operating model across its biggest revenue region. By consolidating business units that were previously split into the UK, Nordics, Southern Europe and CEEMEA, one cohesive leadership team can be focused on optimizing the core business while driving new areas of growth.
A 17-year Discovery veteran, Kieli previously managed operations across 112 markets that formed Discovery’s CEEMEA operations, which she transformed from a basic channel distribution operation into a thriving, locally relevant organisation it is today, offering pay TV, free to air and digital products on two continents.
Jean-Briac Perrette, CEO & President at Discovert Networks International, 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.”
Kieli commented: “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 programmes 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.”
BUILDING A NEXT-GENERATION MEDIA COMPANY WITH CONSUMER FOCUS
As part of the new operation, Kieli has announced a new leadership team for Discovery’s EMEA business including expanded responsibilities for Marinella Soldi and James Gibbons, who will both report to her in the new structure.
- Marinella Soldi will take on an expanded role as Chief Strategy Officer EMEA & Managing Director Southern Europe, reporting to Kasia Kieli. Soldi will continue to leverage her successful track record of running free-to-air, pay TV and digital services with the local management teams in Italy, Spain, France and Portugal. In addition, Soldi will create and lead a new Consumer Insights & Product Development function and the Content organisation for EMEA and Discovery Networks International. This expanded role will ensure that her innovative spirit, strategic thinking, creative leadership and business acumen is leveraged across the wider organisation.
- Soldi helped transform Discovery Italy from an exclusively pay-TV business to a multi-platform media player. Discovery now boasts a 7 per cent portfolio share in Italy, making it the third largest national broadcaster and is building a substantial digital consumer streaming service through its Dplay product.
NEW LEADER FOR DISCOVERY’S OPERATIONS IN UK/IRELAND, AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
- James Gibbons is appointed General Manager UK/Ireland, Australia & New Zealand and Head of Commercial Development EMEA. In his new role, Gibbons manages the UK market which is a major hub for Discovery and consists of 14 brands reaching 26 million people every month. He will build on the success of the existing UK team and identify new growth opportunities for this key market. He also adds the Australia and New Zealand channel businesses to his responsibilities. The similar culture, demographics, language and programming strategy of these markets informed these additional changes. Gibbons also becomes responsible for developing existing and new commercial relationships and business development opportunities across EMEA.
- Gibbons has been with Discovery for more than 18 years, working in management roles and territories across the globe. Most recently he served as General Manager for Emerging Business and Head of Product & Business Development for the CEEMEA region. He spearheaded transformative partnerships in territories such as Turkey, Africa, the Middle East and Germany, significantly expanding Discovery’s presence in these territories. He also led the growth and consolidation of its Japanese business in his role as President of Discovery Japan.
- Gibbons succeeds Susanna Dinnage, who was promoted to the newly created position of Global President, Animal Planet, earlier this month.