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Discovery hires ex-Spotify exec in major digital play

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Francis KeelingDiscovery Communications has appointed former Spotify executive Francis Keeling to lead its digital strategy.

Keeling becomes senior vice-president of international digital, based in London. He is known for spells at Universal Music Group (UMG) and streaming musicplayer Spotify, where he led global negotiations with labels.

Keeling will develop new digital products and his appointment marks one of a number of new digital hires by Discovery.

Jay Trinidad, who is currently running Discovery Networks Northern Asia, takes on the additional role of managing director of digital ventures, running Discovery’s newly formed international digital ventures group.

Meanwhile, former American Express exec Eugene Huang comes on board as senior VP of product and technology, with a remit to build new digital products across multiple screens.

All three digital hires will report directly to Discovery’s president of international development and digital, Michael Lang.

Commenting on Keeling’s appointment, Lang said: “Francis is an outstanding digital executive who helped transform the music industry when its business model was disrupted by technological change. He also comes to us from Spotify, a company we respect tremendously, with a proven track record of serving digital consumer needs.”

“Being able to attract world-class digital executives like Francis, Jay and Eugene into our business says a lot about our ambition as well as the opportunity they see for Discovery’s content and brands across the world as digital product offerings.”

Keeling will be tasked with creating new partnerships and business opportunities for Discovery to bring its content to consumers “across every screen and service”.

He will help develop and launch new digital products across various content genres and also play an active role in Discovery’s OTT initiatives – including its recently announced digital video joint venture in Germany with ProSieben.

Keeling worked for just under a year as vice-president and global head of licensing at Spotify, prior to which he spent ten years at UMG, where he was the global head of digital and managed the transition from physical music sales to new digital formats.

Trinidad will focus on expanding Discovery’s brands and entertainment business into “digital growth areas globally”. A former executive of Google, Square and McDonald’s Corporation, Trinidad joined Discovery last year as president of Japan and senior vice-president of Northern Asia.

Huang most recently worked as vice-president of strategy and planning at American Express. At Discovery he will develop the company’s international products and services across multiple platforms.