David Zaslav

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David Zaslav
Born (1960-01-15) January 15, 1960 (age 62)
EducationBinghamton University (BS)
Boston University (JD)
OccupationCEO and president of Warner Bros. Discovery
SpousePam Zaslav
Children3

David Zaslav (born January 15, 1960)[1] is an American media executive who currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Warner Bros. Discovery.[2] Zaslav spearheaded the transaction between AT&T and Discovery to combine with WarnerMedia and create the combined Warner Bros. Discovery in April 2022.

Zaslav's executive compensation package includes an annual salary of $3 million with an annual $22 million bonus. In his contract extension, Zaslav also received stock options valued at $190 million, making him one of the highest-paid entertainment executives in the world. [3][4][5] He previously served as the Chief Executive Officer and president of Discovery, Inc. beginning on November 16, 2006 and ending on April 8, 2022, when it was merged with WarnerMedia.[6][7]

Early life and education[edit]

Zaslav was born to a Polish and Ukrainian Jewish family [8][9][10][11] in Brooklyn, New York.[12] At the age of 8, he moved to Rockland County where he graduated from Ramapo High School.[13][14] He was captain of the varsity tennis team.[15]

Zaslav earned a BS degree from Binghamton University.

Following this, he graduated from Boston University School of Law with a JD with honors in 1985 and started his career as an attorney with LeBoeuf, Lamb, Lieby and MacRae in New York.[16]

Career[edit]

NBCUniversal[edit]

Zaslav joined NBC in 1989.[17] As president of Cable and Domestic TV and New Media Distribution, he oversaw content distribution to all forms of TV, negotiated for cable and satellite carriage of NBCUniversal networks and forged media partnerships.[18][19]

His responsibilities extended to Bravo, CNBC World, SCI FI, ShopNBC, Sleuth, Telemundo, Telemundo Puerto Rico, mun2, Trio, Universal HD, USA Network, NBC Weather Plus and the Olympics on cable.

Zaslav also oversaw NBCUniversal's interests in A&E, The History Channel, The Biography Channel, National Geographic International, the Sundance Channel and TiVo.[20][21]

Discovery[edit]

Zaslav became CEO of Discovery Communications in November 16, 2006, succeeding Judith McHale.[22] Zaslav instigated a shift in strategy by the company, aiming to see itself as a "content company" rather than a "cable company" by bolstering its main networks (such as its namesake Discovery Channel) as multi-platform brands.[23] As CEO, Zaslav oversaw the development and launch of new networks such as Planet Green (later rebranded as Destination America),[24] The Hub,[25][26] Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN),[27] Velocity,[28][29] and Investigation Discovery,[30] as well as the company's 2018 acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive,[31] expansion of its digital education operations,[32] and current emphasis on streaming services.[33]

Under his leadership, Discovery began trading as a public company in 2008, became a Fortune 500 company in 2014, and acquired Scripps Networks Interactive, in 2018.[34]

Warner Bros. Discovery[edit]

In May 2021, it was announced that Zaslav would serve as CEO of a proposed merger of Discovery with a spin-out of AT&T's WarnerMedia.[35][36] Zaslav's executive compensation package includes an annual salary of $3 million with an annual $22 million bonus. In his contract extension, Zaslav also received stock options valued at $190 million.[37][38][39]

Since August 2022, Zaslav received heavy criticism for his decision to severely reduce the amount of original content on the streaming service HBO Max, to be used as tax write-offs, to focus on bigger theatrical productions with many calling for him to resign or be fired. The total accounted loss was nearly $25 billion off the company's market cap.[40] Some of those projects were "practically finished" or in the late stages of post-production, including Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt.[41] Zaslav also received backlash for the removal of many of Warner Bros' animated programs from streaming platforms and pulling most of the service's content in general, including Final Space, Infinity Train, Summer Camp Island, Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart, The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo, and several hundred episodes of Sesame Street, among others, a decision Infinity Train creator Owen Dennis remarked rendered many of the programs effectively as "lost media".[42] [43][44]

Boards and other activities[edit]

Zaslav serves on the boards of Sirius XM., The Cable Center, Center for Communication, Grupo Televisa, Partnership for New York City, Syracuse University, and USC Shoah Foundation.[45] He also is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Paley Center for Media and the Mt. Sinai Medical Center.[46] He is chair of the Auschwitz: The Past Is Present Committee which promotes awareness of the Holocaust.[9][10][47] In 2012, he received the Steven J. Ross Humanitarian Award from the UJA-Federation of New York[48] which honors people of vision, energy and sustained achievement in the entertainment, media and communications industries.[49]

In 2014, Zaslav was awarded the Fred Dressler Leadership Award by Syracuse University's S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.[45][16]

David Zaslav was awarded the Susan Newhouse & SI Newhouse Award of Hope for his support of the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD) in September 2016.[50]

In 2017, Zaslav was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame.[51]

In 2022, he was named into Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People.[52]

Personal life[edit]

Zaslav lives in New York City with his wife Pam and the couple has 3 children.[45] His daughter Ali Zaslav is a congressional producer with CNN.[53]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zaslav, David. "Discovery Communications 2011 Proxy Filing". Securities and Exchange Commission.
  2. ^ "AT&T announces $43 billion deal to merge WarnerMedia with Discovery". May 17, 2021. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  3. ^ Francis, Theo (May 19, 2021). "Discovery Chief Got Options Valued at $190 Million on Eve of AT&T Deal". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  4. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (May 20, 2021). "Discovery Hands CEO David Zaslav Stock Options Valued At $190M In Contract Extension; Sets Base Salary At $3M, Target Bonus At $20M – Update". Deadline. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  5. ^ Salary.com, Site built by. "Compensation Information for David M. Zaslav, President and Chief Executive Officer of DISCOVERY INC". Salary.com. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  6. ^ David M. Zaslav Archived December 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Discovery Corporate website.
  7. ^ "David M. Zaslav Profile". Business Week.
  8. ^ "I24NEWS".
  9. ^ a b Variety Magazine: "Industry Heavyweights Support Auschwitz 70th Anniversary Commemoration" by Cynthia Littleton January 24, 2015 |His grandparents and other extended family were fortunate to have fled their homeland before the Nazi extermination campaign began in the early 1940s.
  10. ^ a b Jewish Business News: "Steven Spielberg And David Zaslav Commemorate Auschwitz Liberation 70th Anniversary" January 25, 2015
  11. ^ Algemeiner Journal: "Hollywood Heavyweights to Join Spielberg at Auschwitz Commemoration Ceremony in Poland" January 25, 2015 |"When I was a kid I learned in temple the mantra of ‘Never again.’ But there has been genocide since the Holocaust..."There is persecution because of religion and ethnicity. This is a moment to realize that we as a global society have to stand together."
  12. ^ The Cable Center: "David Zaslav: Oral and Video Collection Interview" June 12, 2013
  13. ^ "David Zaslav 2004 Oral and Video History". www.cablecenter.org. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  14. ^ Parker, Garrett (September 1, 2016). "10 Things You Didn't Know About David Zaslav". Money Inc. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  15. ^ "MIPCOM: Discovery CEO David Zaslav Celebrated as Personality of the Year". The Hollywood Reporter. October 18, 2017.
  16. ^ a b http://corporate.discovery.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/DZ-bio-8.7.15.pdf[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ Siklos, Richard (November 17, 2006). "New Chief at Discovery Is 2nd Senior Executive to Leave NBC This Week". The New York Times. ProQuest 433445833. Retrieved May 17, 2021 – via ProQuest.
  18. ^ "David Zaslav – The Emmys". theemmys.tv. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  19. ^ MarketScreener. "David Zaslav - Biography". www.marketscreener.com. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  20. ^ "Manhattan Jewish Historical Initiative, 4th Annual Jewish Hall of Fame Class of 2020 | World Liberty TV - Multicultural Online TV". www.worldlibertytv.org. May 27, 2021. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  21. ^ "David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications". www.paleycenter.org. January 21, 2009. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  22. ^ Ahrens, Frank (November 17, 2006). "Discovery Appoints New Chief". The Washington Post.
  23. ^ "Zaslav Holds To Growth Plan At Discovery". Mediapost. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  24. ^ "Planet Green Moves Away From Its Eco Theme". The New York Times. March 10, 2010. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  25. ^ Owens, Rob (October 10, 2010). "Tuned In: The Hub Network Offers Programs for Younger Children". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  26. ^ "A Children's Channel Retools". The New York Times. October 10, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  27. ^ "Discovery, Winfrey to Team Up On Network". Washington Post. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  28. ^ Richmond, Ray (July 29, 2011). "TCA: Discovery Sets Launch Date For Velocity, Adds Big Names to 'Curiosity', Preps Science Channel's 'Trek Nation', Introduces 'Weed' Team". Deadline Hollywood.
  29. ^ D.M. Levine (April 18, 2011). "Discovery Launches Velocity Channel, Aimed at Rich Men". Adweek.
  30. ^ Ahrens, Frank (November 27, 2007). "Discovery Hopes for Payoff on Crime Channel". The Washington Post.
  31. ^ Szalai, Georg (March 6, 2018). "Discovery Closes Scripps Acquisition, Creating Non-scripted Content Giant". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  32. ^ Barnes, Brooks; Chozick, Amy (August 20, 2012). "Media Companies, Seeing Profit Slip, Push Into Education (Published 2012)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  33. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (April 10, 2018). "Discovery Rebrands Velocity as Motor Trend Network (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  34. ^ "Discovery completes Scripps deal, targets OTT opportunities". Digital TV Europe. March 7, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  35. ^ Meredith, Steve Kovach,Sam (May 17, 2021). "AT&T announces $43 billion deal to merge WarnerMedia with Discovery". CNBC. Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  36. ^ Hayes, Dade (May 17, 2021). "David Zaslav And John Stankey Outline Plans For Merging Discovery And WarnerMedia, Addressing Future Of Jason Kilar, CNN, Streaming". Deadline. Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  37. ^ Francis, Theo (May 19, 2021). "Discovery Chief Got Options Valued at $190 Million on Eve of AT&T Deal". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  38. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (May 20, 2021). "Discovery Hands CEO David Zaslav Stock Options Valued At $190M In Contract Extension; Sets Base Salary At $3M, Target Bonus At $20M – Update". Deadline. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  39. ^ Salary.com, Site built by. "Compensation Information for David M. Zaslav, President and Chief Executive Officer of DISCOVERY INC". Salary.com. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  40. ^ "Warner Bros. Discovery Lost $20 Billion in Market Cap Trying to Cut $3 Billion in Costs".
  41. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony; Kroll, Justin (August 4, 2022). "The Dish: What's Behind The Batgirl & Scoob! Discard? David Zaslav's Abject Rejection Of Jason Kilar's HBO Max Strategy". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  42. ^ Hughes, William. "HBO Max is treating animation fans and creators like hot, burning garbage". AVClub. Retrieved August 26, 2022.
  43. ^ Steiner, Chelsea. "'Infinity Train' Creator Calls Out Warner Bros. Discovery for Removing Animated Series". The Mary Sue. Retrieved August 26, 2022.
  44. ^ Ryan, Danielle. "Infinity Train Creator Says Animation Teams Were Given No Warning Before HBO Max Purge". Slashfilm. Retrieved August 26, 2022.
  45. ^ a b c "Seven New Members Elected to University's Board of Trustees". SU News. May 24, 2021. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  46. ^ "Leadership – Discovery, Inc". corporate.discovery.com. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  47. ^ CableFax: "Never Forget: Zaslav, Spielberg Help Commemorate Auschwitz’s Liberation" January 26, 2015 | "Driving awareness and remembrance of the Holocaust for future generations is critical, especially as we lose more survivors and witnesses with each passing day"
  48. ^ UJA-Federation of New York: "Oprah, Wiesel Honor Zaslav at Leadership Awards Dinner" April 2, 2012
  49. ^ "Oprah, Wiesel Honor Zaslav at Leadership Awards Dinner". ujafedny.org. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  50. ^ "AFTD's Inaugural Hope Rising Benefit". Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  51. ^ "The Cable Center – David M. Zaslav". cablecenter.org. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  52. ^ "David Zaslav: The 100 Most Influential People of 2022". Time. Retrieved November 21, 2022.
  53. ^ "He ran Animal Planet and HGTV. Now he will oversee WarnerMedia. Who is David Zaslav? - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. May 18, 2021.