Campbell off to Discovery

Exits NBC Uni for broad biz role

Newly installed Discovery Networks president and CEO David Zaslav has raided his previous employer, NBC Universal, to fill a key post.

Zaslav has tapped Bruce Campbell, executive vp business development at NBC Uni, to be president of digital media, emerging networks and business development at Discovery, the company said Thursday.

The newly created position will give Campbell oversight of all major business transactions at Discovery, from acquisitions to new-media services.

"Bruce is one of the most strategic dealmakers in the media industry. Through his extensive involvement with NBC's cable assets and his instinctive ability for business development, Bruce has a long history of creating shareholder value," Zaslav said. "This is a key operating role for Discovery, and Bruce's leadership skills and business acumen will be critical to further developing our new-media activities into a key growth engine for the company."

NBC Uni plans to name a successor for Campbell shortly, according to a company spokesman.

Discovery also is promoting Clint Stinchcomb to executive vp and GM of HDTV and new media. Now reporting to Campbell, Stinchcomb will oversee the emerging networks group. In addition to leading Discovery's HD, mobile and VOD platforms, he will take on Discovery Times Channel, the Military Channel and Discovery Home Channel.

With Campbell aboard, Zaslav could be positioning Discovery to add to its portfolio. In his 10 years at NBC Uni, Campbell played an instrumental role in key acquisitions, including the 2004 absorption of Vivendi Universal Entertainment for $14 billion and the 2006 purchase of iVillage for $600 million.

In addition to Zaslav, NBC Uni has also seen key execs depart in recent months, including the TV group's president and COO, Randy Falco, who left to run AOL, and ad sales chief Keith Turner.

While Campbell was well regarded at NBC Uni, his departure was not surprising, according to sources, given that he has always been a close ally to Zaslav. With new CEO Jeff Zucker having just put his own management team in place, there was little room in the ranks to keep Campbell, whose new position has no equivalent at NBC Uni, considering it unifies the leadership functions for both business development and digital media.

In February, Zaslav engineered a shake-up of Discovery's management ranks that realigned various divisions, sent key execs packing and opened up many new positions still being filled.