LONDON — Discovery has finally found a new topper to head its London-based business — Robin Paxton, a former colleague of BBC director general Greg Dyke.
Paxton has been named managing director of Discovery Networks Europe, succeeding Joyce Taylor, who stepped down early this year. He will take up the position June 6, spearheading the web’s business in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Paxton comes from Disney, where he ran the Asia-Pacific operation from Hong Kong.
He was one of Dyke’s senior execs at ITV outfit LWT in the late 1980s. Like Dyke, he benefited from a controversial “golden-handcuffs” share deal that made both men millionaires.
Paxton, who is British, has stayed out of the U.K. limelight of late, joining Disney after a spell heading up Carlton Television’s activities in India.
He will work with Dyke in his new job because of the BBC’s partnership with Discovery, both as a co-producer and provider of joint venture channels such as Animal Planet.
“Discovery is without question one of the few genuinely global media brands which stands for high quality and integrity the world over,” Paxton said.
“Its European operations are already very significant and continue to grow at an enviable rate. The challenge now is to lead Discovery Networks Europe to further success in an increasingly volatile environment. I’m very excited to be able to become part of this growth at such a key moment in European media,” he said.
His elevation means that another powerful European broadcasting job has gone to what is known in London media circles as the LWT Mafia. These people hold influential TV jobs and have close links to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labor government.