Discovery Inc. said it has extended the employment contract of CEO David Zaslav for five years, running through the end of 2023.
Zaslav, who joined Discovery in 2007 from NBC Universal, has piloted Discovery through one of its greatest periods of growth. The company completed the $14.6 billion purchase of Scripps Networks Interactive in March and earlier this year announced that it will move its headquarters from Silver Spring, Md. to New York by 2019.
“David has done a masterful job leading and growing Discovery over the last decade,” said Discovery board member and Liberty Media chair John Malone in a statement. “He is a visionary, a strategic builder and all around great guy.
"Under David’s leadership, Discovery has scaled new heights becoming the leader in sports across Europe, building the leading global IP portfolio of high quality content, and positioning Discovery for continued global growth," Malone added. "We are lucky to have him.”
Along the way Zaslav has helped refocus Discovery on the international market, buying European sports networks Eurosport in 2015, securing Olympic Games broadcast rights through 2024 and just last month, landing a 12-year, $2 billion deal for PGA Tour rights outside of the U.S.
“I am thrilled,” Zaslav said in a statement. “Leading Discovery is my dream job. I would like to thank Discovery’s Board of Directors, fantastic management team, business partners, and all of our passionate superfans around the world for helping to make Discovery the unparalleled company it is today. Together, we are building something special. The new Discovery has the leading IP portfolio of beloved brands in the world, reaching viewers globally on every screen and service.
"Being at Discovery for the past 11 years has been the privilege of my career," Zaslav added. "I am confident our brand strength, global platform and marketplace differentiation will ensure that Discovery continues to grow and deliver value to our viewers, partners and shareholders for many years to come.”
As part of his new employment deal, Zaslav’s annual base salary will remain constant at $3 million, and he will be eligible for a $9 million bonus in 2018. According to the deal, that potential bonus will grow to a maximum of $22 million annually after 2019. Zaslav also will be eligible for additional stock option awards. A significant holder of Discovery stock, Zaslav has committed to hold the majority of his equity from stock grants to term, which the company said furthers the alignment of shareholder and management interests.
“A dynamic, creative, and passionate leader, David is a builder and an innovator, laser focused on creating value,” said Discovery chair Robert Miron in a statement. “This multi-year commitment affirms our confidence in David’s leadership, and on behalf of the entire Board of Directors, we are excited for David and his strong management team to drive further success and growth in this next chapter of the new Discovery.”