By Omar Sofradzija
Peter Faricy is three decades removed from his time as a student at the Eli Broad College of Business. But what he learned during his time along the Red Cedar River is still propelling his professional career upward, most recently into a top spot with one of the world’s leading broadcast companies.
Faricy (BA Marketing,’88) in September will become Discovery, Inc.’s CEO for Global Direct-to-Consumer, in which he will oversee Discovery’s GO TV Everywhere products, among other global digital programming, as the broadcast behemoth continues its transition away from traditional cable and toward streaming and digital delivery.
“My business education at MSU was terrific and I continue to draw upon what I learned even today,” Faricy said recently. His favorite example is a class he took with the late famous Professor Eugene Jennings back in 1987: “Among many lessons, Professor Jennings taught us how to handle business failure – e.g., you experiment and if the experiment fails, you then determine what you can learn from it but don’t consider yourself a failure.”
“I still draw upon these lessons years later because in reality most of the world’s biggest innovations have come from a series of failed experiments,” Faricy said.
Faricy’s career has been a series of successes. He heads to Discovery from e-commerce giant Amazon, where he ran Amazon Marketplace, the company’s third-party seller business. Before that, he headed music and movies sales there. He also had prior stints with Borders Group, Inc., Ford Motor Company, and McKinsey & Company.
“He is very well-suited to lead Discovery into the next decade,” said Sanjay Gupta, dean of the Broad College. “His experience and background in marketing at Amazon, Borders, Ford, and McKinsey, and in the e-commerce, automotive, and consulting industries make him the ideal person to lead Discovery’s vast portfolio.”
That portfolio includes iconic broadcast brands like the Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, Oprah Winfrey Network, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, TLC, Eurosport (which is the rights holder to the Olympic Games in Europe) and other channels, along with Motor Trend and a partnership with the PGA Tour. It produces more than 8,000 annual hours of original programming aired in 220 countries.
“Peter is a world-class executive, with an extensive track record of building some of the world’s most successful direct-to-consumer products and businesses,” David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery, said in a prepared statement. “We are excited to welcome Peter and his vision and skill set to the Discovery leadership team as we accelerate our pivot to become a next-generation media company engaging passionate communities of fans around the world on every screen with trusted, high-quality brands and content.”
Faricy said his mission will be to serve viewers “by leveraging technology to provide access to the content they love, anywhere and anytime.”
Not only did MSU prepare Faricy for his career, but also for love. “My experience at MSU was a love story. Literally!” he said. “First I fell in love with the university and second – and most importantly – I met my future wife Sharon (also a Class of ’88 alum) in the Marketing Association at the business school.”
Through the years and miles, the Faricys have stayed involved with MSU. They are members of the MSU President’s Campaign Cabinet (which has helped raise more than $1.6 billion for MSU’s Empower Extraordinary campaign) and have been active in alumni activities in the Seattle area. Faricy was the keynote speaker at the MSU Detroit Economic Forum in 2014 and he has been an executive sponsor for MSU at Amazon.
Faricy starts his new role Sept. 17.