International media and entertainment company Discovery Communications has transformed the structure of its regional businesses across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and promoted Kasia Kieli to lead operations.
Discovery has made substantial investments across EMEA in recent years, from its acquisition of international sports broadcaster Eurosport and premium sporting rights, including the Olympic Games from 2018 to 2024 in 50 European markets, to new direct to-consumer digital products such as Dplay, which features sports and entertainment programming in Italy, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Discovery also has made significant progress in the growth of its sports streaming service, Eurosport Player.
Effective immediately, Kieli has been named Discovery’s president and managing director, EMEA. In the new position, Kieli will seek to accelerate Discovery’s consumer and product-focused operating model. By consolidating business units that were previously split into the UK, Nordics, Southern Europe and Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa (CEEMEA), Discovery said one cohesive leadership team can be focused on optimising 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. Jean-Briac Perrette, chief executive and president of Discovery 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 organisation continue to grow to new heights and in unimaginable ways.”
As part of the new operation, Kieli has formed 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.
Soldi will take on an expanded role as chief strategy officer EMEA and managing director Southern Europe. Soldi will continue to run free-to-air, pay-television 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 and product development function and the content organisation for EMEA and Discovery Networks International.
Gibbons has been appointed general manager UK/Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, and head of commercial development EMEA. In his new role, Gibbons will manage the UK market, while adding the Australia and New Zealand channel businesses to his responsibilities.
Discovery said 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.