Gary E. Knell will replace Declan Moore as Nat Geo Partners CEO, the board announced Friday.
Knell, who has served as president and CEO of the National Geographic Society since 2014, will succeed Moore effective March 1. Moore has held the role since Nat Geo Partners’, a joint venture between 21st Century Fox and the Nat Geo Society, formation in 2015.
“I’m grateful for the 23 years I’ve dedicated to this extraordinary organization, and am so proud of the teams, the businesses and the brands that we have developed and nurtured in that time. It’s been immensely rewarding working so closely with Peter and Gary and am happy to be leaving NGP in their extremely capable hands,” Moore said in a statement. “I know that the work we’ve done to scale and modernize National Geographic Partners has positioned the brand for tremendous future success.”
Moore led the integration of the organization’s consumer-facing assets into 21st Century Fox as part of the two companies’ expanded joint venture. Under Moore, Nat Geo grew its global television footprint to 450 million homes and expanded its digital infrastructure and cross-platform storytelling, as well as social media presence, and carried a record number of travelers on Nat Geo Expeditions.
“Declan has been a tremendous champion of National Geographic, and his steady leadership in the founding of National Geographic Partners has created a foundation for it to thrive as one of the world’s most iconic media brands for years to come,” Peter Rice, president of 21st Century Fox, said. “Gary is ideally situated to build on that momentum. Nobody understands National Geographic better than Gary, and his breadth of media experience, strategic mindset and global perspective make him the perfect leader of the organization at this exciting time of transformation.”
Moore began his career at National Geographic in 1995 and has previously served as president of publishing and travel and chief media officer.
“I’m thrilled to build on the enormous momentum that’s already been generated by Declan and his team at National Geographic Partners, and to continue to leverage National Geographic’s full portfolio of amazing assets to drive positive change through the best in science, exploration and storytelling,” Knell added. “At the Society, we’ve succeeded in developing an impact-driven agenda for the most pressing issues facing the planet, and are well positioned to continue to execute on that ambition thanks to the fantastic leadership team we’ve put in place.”
Knell will now oversee all of Nat Geo’s global storytelling assets, including the television, magazine, print and digital operations, licensing and travel expeditions.
As the head of the Society, Knell focused on nonprofit and educational activities globally and oversaw the organization’s print and digital platforms, travel and consumer products, until the formation of Nat Geo Partners. He currently serves as chairman of National Geo Partners, and has also held various board positions at the parent organization since 2003.
Knell was previously the president and CEO of National Public Radio and held executive roles at Sesame Workshop and Manager Media International and served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary and Governmental Affairs Committees in Washington, D.C., and worked in the California State Legislature and Governor’s Office.
“I have tremendous respect for Gary’s outstanding leadership,” Jean Case, Nat Geo Society board of trustees chairman and Nat Geo Partners board member, said. “His passionate commitment to science, exploration and storytelling – combined with his deep expertise in media and his love of the National Geographic brand – makes him ideally suited to lead National Geographic Partners to its next level of success. I also want to express my gratitude to Declan for his extensive contributions to National Geographic Partners and Society.”