Discovery, Eurosport Ramp Up for Olympics

Revamps Leadership in Five Key Areas

Discovery Communications and Eurosport said they have made several key leadership appointments in anticipation of their upcoming Olympic Games coverage.

Eurosport won all European TV and multiplatform rights to the 2018-2024 Olympic Games in June.

The company’s Olympic Games leadership organization team will have five key functional areas:   Commercialization, led by sports development & Olympic commercialization president Jean-Thierry Augustin;  Operations & Planning, led by senior vice president of Olympic operations and planning, David Schafer;  and  Olympic Relations & Coordination, led by vice president Olympic relations and project coordination, Géraldine Filiol. The two remaining areas --  Engineering/Technology and  Production are to be appointed at a later date.

“Discovery is committed to elevating the excitement and engagement in the Olympic Games through our world-class storytelling, local market expertise, and Eurosport’s heritage of connecting fans with key Olympic sports all year long,” said Discovery Networks International president JB Perrette in a statement. “Since announcing the ground-breaking deal this summer, we already have selected three of five Olympic leadership roles, aligning our structure to ensure we have the best in class talent -- both on the screen and within our organization.”

 “These talented leaders will support our ambition for Eurosport to be the preferred destination for sports fans. As we continue to invest in the programming, promotion and production values for Eurosport across all platforms, this team will deliver on our new brand promise to “Fuel Your Passion” and immerse fans in the greatest sports moments,” said Eurosport CEO Peter Hutton in a statement.

As president, Sports Development & Olympic Commercialization, Augustin will lead the Olympic Games commercialization function driving all Olympic sales and commercial opportunities. He will continue to report to Perrette and work closely with Hutton and Discovery’s management teams across Europe.

As senior vice president of Olympic Operations and Planning Schafer will report Hutton and will be responsible for the planning and successful operation of Olympic Games coverage, lead the relationship with Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) and oversee smooth execution on all linear and digital platforms across Europe. In addition to leading the operations teams, Schafer will work with the regional businesses, sub-licensees and corporate functions to execute against the production strategy.

Schafer formerly worked in Olympic operations at NBC and began his Olympic career at the Sydney 2000 Games. He has worked on seven Olympic Games and won three Emmy Awards for coverage in Beijing, London and Sochi. Previously, Schafer led Discovery Networks International’s digital media business, where he has been responsible for OTT and TVE products, network websites and content syndication. 

As vice president Olympic Relations and Project Coordination, Filiol will report to Hutton and will be responsible for the Olympic project coordination and managing external relationships with sub licensees, the International Olympic Committee and the International Federations. Her existing role as Eurosport’s head of marketing, communications and external relations has been split into two roles to provide greater focus on these business functions as Eurosport continues to super-charge its growth and re-ignite the brand to connect with fans.

In addition, Eurosport has appointed three new leaders for the following functions: Business Development, led by vice president of business development Sameer Pabari; Marketing led by vice president of marketing and franchise management Antonio Ruiz; and Communications, led by vice  president of communications Fiona McLachlan

In this newly created role, Pabari will be responsible for international business and commercial digital development across the Eurosport business. Ruiz moves over from the Southern European arm of the business and will be responsible for developing the overall brand and marketing strategy across affiliate sales, events and consumer marketing for Eurosport, partnering with Discovery’s regional teams to develop sport franchises within the Discovery portfolio. McLachlan will be responsible for the full complement of corporate, consumer communications and event functions for the brand.