David Zaslav, born on January 15, 1960, in Brooklyn, New York, is an influential American media executive currently serving as the CEO and President of Warner Bros. Discovery. Strategic vision and transformative decisions have characterized his career in the media.
Zaslav's early life saw his family move from Poland and Ukraine to Ramapo, New York, where he graduated from Ramapo High School. He later earned a B.S. from Binghamton University and a J.D. with honors from Boston University School of Law in 1985. He embarked on his professional journey at LeBoeuf, Lamb, Lieby, and MacRae in New York before joining NBC in 1989.
During his time at NBC, he made significant contributions, managing TV programming distribution and negotiating network cable and satellite carriage. His oversight extended to networks like Bravo, CNBC World, Telemundo, and the USA Network. His tenure at NBCUniversal also included managing A&E, history, and biography, showcasing his diverse expertise in the media landscape.
In 2006, Zaslav took on a new challenge as he succeeded Judith McHale as the CEO of Discovery Communications. Under his leadership, Discovery shifted its focus from being a "cable company" to a "content company," launching new networks such as Planet Green, The Hub, and the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Zaslav's strategic initiatives led Discovery to go public in 2008, achieve Fortune 500 status in 2014, and acquire Scripps Networks Interactive in 2018.
In May 2021, he replaced Jason Kilar as the CEO of the newly projected Discovery-WarnerMedia merger, leading to the formation of Warner Bros. Discovery in April 2022. This merger aimed to create a media and entertainment powerhouse, consolidating brands like HBO, CNN, and Warner Bros. under one umbrella.
However, Zaslav's decisions regarding content removal from streaming services and project cancellations for tax write-offs have faced criticism, resulting in a substantial loss in the company's market valuation.
Beyond his professional achievements, he is actively involved in various boards and philanthropic endeavors. He serves on the boards of Sirius XM, The Cable Center, Grupo Televisa, and others. He chairs Auschwitz: The Past Is Present, a Holocaust awareness committee, reflecting his commitment to social responsibility.
In 2022, Zaslav was recognized on Time's 100 Most Influential People list. His accolades also include the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award, the UJA-Federation of New York's Steven J. Ross Humanitarian Award, and Syracuse University's Fred Dressler Leadership Award.
With regard to his personal life, Zaslav resides in New York City with his wife, Pam, and three children. His daughter, Ali, is a congressional producer at CNN.
Zaslav's professional journey reflects a remarkable blend of strategic leadership, corporate success, and a commitment to social causes, establishing him as a visionary figure in the media and entertainment industry.