Discovery restructures PR, head moves to new post

BETHESDA, MD: In the wake of a business restructuring, global media giant Discovery Communications has reorganized its senior public relations management - and at least one high-profile hiring is on the way.

BETHESDA, MD: In the wake of a business restructuring, global media giant Discovery Communications has reorganized its senior public relations management - and at least one high-profile hiring is on the way.

Discovery, whose holdings include several cable channels (the flagship Discovery Channel and Animal Planet) as well as interests in publishing and retail outlets, has decided to separate PR functions from marketing ones.

To this end, Discovery veteran Jim Boyle, who joined nine years ago as director of communications, is relinquishing the company's top PR position (SVP, marketing and communications) to launch a newly formed international policy unit. He has been appointed SVP, policy, and will report to the group's president, Don Wear. Boyle's tenure has seen Discovery grow from a single cable channel to a global multimedia entity.

Donald Baer, SVP of public policy and communications, becomes the company's top-ranking PR official, though his role will largely be dedicated to government relations.

Dawn McCall, president of Discovery Networks International (DNI) confirmed the company will be hiring a new head of marketing to fill the remainder of Boyle's former duties, and that Petra Fioravanti will fill the newly created position of VP, communications. Both positions will report to McCall, whose DNI division oversees eight themed channels.

Fioravanti, who has worked at Discovery in a variety of communications roles since 1993, will start her new position immediately. She will focus on ?strategic reputation development? in addition to traditional activities such as corporate positioning, program publicity and internal communications.

Fioravanti was previously director of corporate communications, a post in which she spearheaded channel launches in Asia and Latin America.

Fioravanti said to expect more from Discovery from a PR perspective.

?We are going to take it up a notch,? she said. ?We're going to be providing the strategic guidance that is needed to further support our brands.? She added that her promotion would not lead to any immediate changes in her 11-person communications department.

The Discovery Channel's domestic public relations will continue to be directed by VP of communications Lynn McReynolds.

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