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Discovery founder John Hendricks to retire

MUMBAI: US infotainment broadcaster Discovery’s founder John Hendricks will retire on 16 May as chairman of the company’s board of directors and as a director of the board.

In a letter to the board he said that 2014 marks his 32nd year (nearly a third of century) of service as chairman of the board and as an executive of the company.

“Ten years ago in 2004, I decided it was just the right time for me to step down as CEO. Now, 10 years later, with Discovery on such a strong growth path under David’s able leadership and a strong board of directors, I likewise feel this is the perfect time to depart from the board and from my role as chairman and as an executive of the company. For over three decades now, I have somewhat envied the legions of documentarians that we have employed who have traveled the world to bring great stories and experiences to our viewers. It is now finally time for me to go exploring!”

His plan is to spend the next few years traveling the planet and discovering the questions and mysteries that intrigue everybody. “And, as you all know, I want to find a compelling way through in- person retreats and online learning initiatives to nurture our natural human curiosity in a very substantial way. I am committed to building a lifelong learning academy operating within the private sector that offers deep dives into our curious questions about science, technology, civilisation, and the human spirit.”

He plans to in the years ahead implement Curiosity Retreats and the online Curiosity Club through his new company, Curiosity Project that he had announced last month on 10 February.

“I wanted to share with all of you on the board of directors my warm and grateful thoughts for making these past three decades of Discovery such an incredibly marvelous and rewarding adventure. Because of your steadfast support for the company I founded on 8 September 1982, Discovery has achieved enormous impact and scale all across the planet. It has truly been a team effort.

“I, of course, have to give special thanks to several great people. Herbert Allen, Paul Gould, and others at Allen & Company were the very first to believe in the dreams of this entrepreneur and they led my initial round of financing in 1985. Their efforts produced the critical startup funding that got the Discovery Channel transmitting on satellite on 17 June 1985. The next and most consequential round of financing was led in 1986 by none other than cable pioneers, John Malone and Bob Miron, who have proved to be the most intelligent and reliable partners an entrepreneur could possibly have. For 28 years, John and Bob have been extraordinary board leaders and shareholders who have guided Discovery through spectacular years of growth…and they still do so today with a wisdom and integrity that I believe is unmatched in world business.

“And finally, I want to thank the sensational David Zaslav who made one of my greatest wishes come true when he accepted the CEO post at Discovery in 2007. What followed was an unparalleled growth record in the global media industry as David masterminded the amazing journey of our company’s growth in markets worldwide and in the creation of an incredible array of new content offerings that are today satisfying the entertainment and information needs of well over a billion consumers worldwide. And through all the expansion, David has been a careful steward of the Discovery brand and he has continually increased Discovery’s investment in quality content year after year. Under David’s energetic and brilliant leadership, I am convinced that the best of Discovery is yet to come.

“What gives me such special joy on this occasion are the thousands of Discovery employees across the planet who work every day to bring enlightenment and entertainment into the hearts and minds of our viewers. Discovery employees are truly making a difference in the world. Because they labour to achieve excellence and meaning in everything they do, their contributions to a more educated and informed planet will be their lasting legacy. The people of Discovery are a special breed. Their passion for the brand mission is absolutely contagious and was a source of constant inspiration for me over the last 32 years.”