Three months before Discovery Communications announced it would leave its longtime headquarters in Silver Spring, a company executive wrote a letter supporting Montgomery County’s effort to lure Amazon’s second headquarters.
The letter signed by David Leavy, Discovery’s chief of corporate operations and its communications officer, encourages Amazon to locate its offices in the county. The letter was dated Oct. 11, 2017.
“Our founder John Hendricks established our namesake and flagship brand, the Discovery Channel, in Bethesda, Maryland in 1985 and Discovery Communications was founded in 1994 with its headquarters remaining in Bethesda,” Leavy wrote. “As our company continued to grow and expand, we quickly outgrew our existing office space. A move to our new global headquarters building in Silver Spring, Maryland—also located in Montgomery County—occurred in 2003 and helped anchor a revitalization of what is now a thriving central business district. Today, over 1,300 of our global employees work in Montgomery County and more than a third are county residents.”
The letter continues, “Over the life of our company, Montgomery County and the state of Maryland have provided tens of millions of dollars of support to Discovery through real and property tax credits, incentive grants and workforce training funds. We will forever be grateful to the county and its outstanding police force for its response as they led all of our employees to safety when a gunman entered our building. Discovery Communications values the county’s ability to provide a skilled and talented workforce, a factor that has helped fuel our company’s growth over the years.”
On Tuesday, Discovery announced it would move its headquarters out of Silver Spring. Its new global headquarters will be in New York City, while its operations headquarters will be in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The move comes as the television and media company seeks to stabilize its business while the television industry gets upended as more people end their cable contracts and switch to online streaming companies such as Amazon Prime and Netflix.
The move also happened shortly after Discovery acquired Scripps Networks Interactive in a deal valued at $14.6 billion in July. Scripps is headquartered in Knoxville.
Leavy said in an interview Tuesday that he wrote the letter of support because Discovery believes Montgomery County is a great place to locate a business.
“Montgomery County is very pro-business,” Leavy said. “This is a wonderful county do business in. We had a wonderful run. I think Amazon or any company can do well in Montgomery County.”
He said Discovery’s headquarters move to New York City is due to changes in the “media ecosystem” rather than any business-related issues in the county.
He also said the combination of advertisers, investors and “creative leaders” in New York are important to the company’s current and future business, while Knoxville’s current Scripps facilities and lower cost-of-living made it the choice for the operations center.
However, Leavy said he remains a supporter of the county.
“I’ll stand up and talk to anyone who’s considering coming to Montgomery County and say this is a wonderful place to do business,” Leavy said.
David Leavy’s letter provided by Montgomery County to Bethesda Beat as part of a public information request related to information about the county’s bid for Amazon.