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National Geographic Partners Closes Deal, Names Senior Leadership Team

Courteney Monroe, Ward Platt, Susan Goldberg, and Jeffrey Schneider plant their flags

Twenty-First Century Fox and the National Geographic Society have completed the transaction to form National Geographic Partners — and the new entity already has its senior leadership squadron in place.

The top-level team includes Ward Platt, Susan Goldberg, Courteney Moore (pictured above), and Jeffrey Schneider. Ward will become COO of the new company; Goldberg adds the Editorial Director title; Monroe takes on CEO of National Geographic Global Networks; Schneider is now executive vice president of Business and Legal Affairs at the new partnership.

The appointments atop the combo of Nat Geo TV Channels and the parent company’s other media and consumer-oriented assets were made by Partners CEO Declan Moore. Additional appointments are expected soon.

“Upon completing the transaction to form National Geographic Partners, we are thrilled to bring these incredibly talented executives to the senior leadership team,” Moore said. “National Geographic is one of the world’s most trusted brands, delivering unique and compelling storytelling of science, discovery and wonder to consumers for over a century. We’re excited to officially begin our journey to bring a new and integrated National Geographic experience to people worldwide, and I look forward to partnering with Ward Platt and working with Susan Goldberg, Courteney Monroe and Jeffrey Schneider to share the National Geographic mission with an even larger audience.”

Here’s that leadership team; descriptions all in National Geographic’s own words:

Ward Platt, who currently serves as Chief Operating Officer of Fox International Channels (FIC) and CEO of National Geographic Channels International, will assume the new post of COO of National Geographic Partners. Platt will partner with Moore to drive the global revenue of the entire portfolio of National Geographic Partners’ businesses, including channels distribution, advertising revenue, digital publishing, licensing, travel and consumer products. Platt will also have oversight of the new venture’s international operations. Platt previously served as President, FIC Asia Pacific & Middle East. Under his more than 10 years of leadership in the region, FIC experienced exponential growth, becoming the leading pay-TV network in Asia Pacific. He helped build the business from the ground up and was responsible for all aspects of running more than 40 channel brands across 18 offices, including the launch of National Geographic’s channel business in Asia. In addition, he oversaw the integration of Fox Sports Asia (formerly ESS) into FIC.

Susan Goldberg, who currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic magazine, will continue in that capacity and add the title of Editorial Director, responsible for all of the publishing activities under the new venture, including digital journalism, magazines, books, maps, children and family, travel and adventure. This expanded oversight will drive alignment among all of the publishing assets in support of key initiatives while ensuring the editorial voice and mission of the magazine is reflected across the full spectrum of National Geographic Partners’ publishing assets. Prior to joining National Geographic in 2014, Goldberg was executive editor for Bloomberg News in Washington, D.C., where she oversaw coverage of federal, state and local governments. Previously she was editor of the Plain Dealer (Cleveland).

Courteney Monroe, who is currently Chief Executive Officer of National Geographic Channels U.S., will serve as CEO of National Geographic Global Networks, overseeing global programming, operations and global marketing for the portfolio of National Geographic Channels around the world, which includes National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo People and Nat Geo MUNDO. Additionally, Monroe will assume oversight of National Geographic Studios, the in-house television production studio previously part of National Geographic Ventures, which currently produces the network’s Emmy-nominated series “Brain Games” and Emmy-winning series “Explorer,” as well as large-format films and short-form videos. In this expanded role, Monroe will continue to work closely with Fox Networks Group Chairman and CEO Peter Rice, partnering with the best in the creative community to position National Geographic Channels as a global leader in premium science, adventure and exploration programming. Monroe joined National Geographic Channels in 2012 from HBO, where she served as Executive Vice President, Consumer Marketing and Digital Platforms. In this role she spearheaded marketing for a range of path-breaking shows including “The Sopranos” and “Game of Thrones,” and she oversaw the development, launch and marketing of digital streaming service HBO GO.

Jeffrey Schneider, who is currently Executive Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs for National Geographic Channels, will become EVP of Business and Legal Affairs for National Geographic Partners. Schneider’s team will have oversight of all legal dealings associated with the new venture.