Discovery Communications has named former German satellite executive Gunnar Wiedenfels as its new chief financial officer, replacing Andrew Warren, who had earlier said he would be leaving the company.
Wiedenfels will officially become CFO on April 1, from ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, where he currently holds the same position. He will report to Discovery CEO David Zaslav and be based at Discovery’s office in New York. Warren, who had earlier planned to leave by the end of the year, has agreed to extend his contract term to ensure a smooth transition of CFO responsibilities.
“As Discovery continues our rapid growth and diversification in new content and digital platforms around the world, Gunnar is the ideal choice to lead our global finance strategy and organization,” Zaslav said in a statement. “Gunnar's international expertise aligns perfectly with our future growth profile, and he brings to Discovery an exceptional reputation in the capital markets, strong industry expertise and a strategic focus to help unlock the value of our investments. He will be a terrific addition to our management team and I look forward to working with him to continue to drive Discovery’s global business.”
As CFO, Wiedenfels will be responsible for leading the global financial functions and strategies of the company and will direct all accounting, treasury, budgeting, tax and investor relations activities. He will serve as a member of Discovery’s executive team and contribute to the overall strategic direction of the company.
Wiedenfels has spent the past seven years in various management roles at Munich-based ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE. As CFO of the German satellite giant, he is credited with leading the outperformance of analyst expectations and the European Broadcasting peer group, with approximately 20% valuation premium over relevant peers; 39% total shareholder return in 2015, well above benchmarks; and inclusion of ProSiebenSat.1 into the DAX index of 30 largest listed companies in Germany by market cap, as of March 2016. Since 2012, ProSiebenSat.1 has tripled revenues from its Digital and Adjacent activities to 1 billion euros in the twelve months ending June 2016. Prior to his CFO role, he served as Deputy CFO from 2014 to 2015 and served as Chief Group Controller from 2013 to 2015. Before this, he worked as a management consultant and engagement manager at McKinsey & Company.
Discovery Communications was assisted in the search process by Howard Fischer Associates, International.