Discovery Communications said company founder John Hendricks will retire as chairman of the board of directors and as a director, staying in those roles through the annual meeting of shareholders on May 16.
"Few words can appropriately convey what kind of person John is, or what he has meant to this company and the cable television industry overall," Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in a statement. "He is a true visionary, a man of enormous integrity and one of the world's great entrepreneurs. On behalf of the 5,600 employees of Discovery Communications, I want to thank John for all that he has done, and all that he has stood for, as founder and chairman of Discovery for more than 30 years, and believing the world needed a different kind of media company – a purpose-driven media company."
Hendricks has served as chairman and founder of Discovery Communications, before and including the launch of the Discovery Channel on June 17, 1985. He stepped down as CEO in 2004 and remained chairman of the board. Hendricks notified the board of directors by letter.