As Discovery Communications Inc. prepares for a regime change at the top, another senior executive is heading for the door. Development executive Don Baer will exit the company at the end of the year, a month after outgoing President and CEO Judith McHale officially leaves.
Baer's exit has been expected. His title is senior executive VP for strategy and development, putting him in charge of cutting deals for various ventures, including licensing DCI's rich video library to digital programmers. However, insiders see one of Baer's major roles as an adviser to McHale, particularly helping her in Washington, D.C., not on lobbying but in her personal interests in policy and politics. Baer joined Discovery in 1998 after serving as Communications Director and a speechwriter in the Clinton White House. As soon as McHale announced in August she would leave to pursue political and policy interests, insiders immediately assumed Baer would quickly follow.He continues to work directly with DCI Chairman and founder advising on new media issues and a few other projects including an upcoming special with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and the Silverdocs documentary film festival.