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Knell takes over at Nat Geo Partners

The president and CEO of National Geographic Society (NGS) has been appointed CEO of channel operator National Geographic Partners.

Gary E Knell

Gary E Knell, who has been head of NGS since 2014, will take the reins of the joint venture between NGS and 21st Century Fox from March 1. He replaces Declan Moore, who had been CEO of Nat Geo Partners since its formation in 2015.

In his new role, Knell will oversee all of the 130-year-old brand’s global storytelling assets, including the television, magazine, print and digital operations, licensing and travel expeditions.

As CEO of NGS, Knell was responsible for the society’s non-profit and educational activities globally and, until the formation of National Geographic Partners, oversaw the organisation’s print and digital platforms, travel and consumer products.

He is currently chairman of National Geographic Partners and has also held various board positions at Nat Geo since 2003.

“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, ” said Knell of his appointment.

Moore led the integration of Nat Geo’s consumer-facing assets into 21st Century Fox as part of the two companies’ expanded joint venture.

In that time, he aligned Nat Geo’s programming, publishing and digital strategy more closely around its historic mission to support premium storytelling about science, adventure and exploration.

Under Moore, National Geographic expanded its global television footprint to 450 million homes and grew its digital infrastructure. He joined the organisation in 1995, serving in various roles including president of publishing and travel and chief media officer.

“It’s been immensely rewarding working so closely with Peter and Gary and I am happy to be leaving Nat Geo Partners in their extremely capable hands,” he said.

In September 2015, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox paid US$725m to expand its partnership with National Geographic Society and create the JV. The following January, the company made key changes to its team.

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