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Discovery Hires Amazon’s Avi Saxena as CTO of Direct-to-Consumer Unit, Will Open Seattle Office

Discovery hired Avi Saxena, former VP of technology for Amazon Marketplace, as chief technology officer of direct-to-consumer.

Saxena reports to the guy who was his boss at Amazon: Peter Faricy, who was appointed CEO of Discovery’s Global Direct-to-Consumer division in August 2018 and who headed up the Amazon Marketplace third-party seller business.

In the newly created role at Discovery, Saxena oversees technology systems and global platforms powering all of the company’s direct-to-consumer products in the U.S. including MotorTrend, and internationally including Eurosport Player and the company’s new GolfTV service outside the U.S.

Saxena also will lead Discovery’s new Seattle-area office in Bellvue, Wash., which the company said will serve as a hub for the expanding direct-to-consumer team. The office is slated to open later in the first quarter of 2019, focusing on core technology roles including software engineering, data science and analytics, content encoding and digital rights management.

“Having worked closely with Avi at Amazon, I know his track record for creating best-in-business technology systems,” Faricy said in announcing the hire. “As Discovery dives deeper into the direct-to-consumer space to deliver our superfan viewers more of the content they want, it makes perfect sense to create this new, DTC technology hub in Seattle.”

All told, Saxena had worked for Amazon more than a decade. He also held management roles at Microsoft and several internet-infrastructure startups, where he developed content delivery networks and other technologies. Saxena holds an MBA from Southern Methodist University, a master’s degree in computer science from University of Texas, Dallas, and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from India’s SGS Institute of Technology and Science.

Saxena, in a prepared statement, said, “Discovery is one of the most dynamic companies in media right now, doubling its commitment to the direct-to-consumer space by building out this new, entrepreneurial team here in Seattle to augment the current global organization. I am thrilled to help move the company forward, expand the platforms for fans to enjoy these much-loved brands, and create exciting new products that consumers cannot live without.”

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