Scripps Networks Hires Discovery Veteran as U.K., EMEA Boss

Phillip Luff, Scripps Networks Interactive P 2014

Phillip Luff replaces Jonathan Sichel, who returns to the U.S. as managing director of global commercial affairs

Scripps Networks Interactive has appointed Discovery Communications veteran Phillip Luff as head of its U.K., Europe, Middle East and Africa business.

The cable networks company on Wednesday also said that Jonathan Sichel, who Luff will replace as managing director for Scripps Networks U.K. & EMEA, is returning to the U.S. in the newly created role of managing director of global commercial affairs.

Luff will report to Jim Samples, president of Scripps Networks International. He will be the lead executive for Scripps Networks in London, with responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the company’s international businesses in the region. They include Food Network, Fine Living Network and Travel Channel. 

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Luff has been leading Discovery Networks International’s operations in Russia and North East Europe. He started his career in television with Liberty Media Group and Fox Sports Australia and has in recent years held a number of leadership positions with Discovery Networks International in Sydney, Tokyo, London, Warsaw and Moscow.

“Phillip Luff is a strategic and creative leader with extensive knowledge of the international media landscape. His vision and experience will be invaluable as we expand our footprint across the U.K. and EMEA,” Samples said. “There is a clear demand for Scripps Networks’ category-defining lifestyle content around the world, and with Phillip’s expertise, we will continue to take new and innovative approaches to growing our business while launching new channels, developing stronger brands and increasing audience share within the region.”

Sichel will work with Luff on the transition before moving to New York in the new year. Sichel will be responsible for developing a global approach to content acquisition and commissioning, as well as working with Scripps Networks International leadership on analyzing potential acquisitions and joint ventures. Sichel will also lead global production and talent deals for the company. He will report to Cynthia Gibson, executive vp, chief legal officer of Scripps Networks Interactive.

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“As Scripps Networks Interactive continues to grow domestically and internationally, it is becoming increasingly important that we take a more cohesive view of the way we approach expanding our footprint as well as working with our content partners,” Gibson said. “Jonathan’s deep understanding of our brands and our businesses, both in the United States and in rapidly expanding international markets, will be critical as we seek to deliver on our ambition to grow into a truly global content company.”

Meanwhile, Discovery said that it has appointed Olga Paskina as country manager North East Europe, replacing Luff. Until recently, she was president and chairman of ProfMedia, one of the largest private media holding companies in Russia.

Twitter: @georgszalai