Peter Liguori, chief operating officer of Discovery Communications, will leave the company at the end of the year. Discovery Communications confirmed the move and said the position will be eliminated following his departure.

During his nearly two years with Discovery, Liguori led the launch of joint ventures OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, The Hub and 3net, and his responsibilities included oversight of Marketing, Discovery Studios, Corporate Communications and Corporate Affairs, Business Affairs, and Media Technology, Production and Operations. He also served as interim chief executive officer of OWN after Christina Norman left the network in May, until Winfrey took over.

“My time at Discovery has been incredibly rewarding,” Liguori said in a statement. “Every day I was inspired to work alongside highly talented and hard-working staff who never ceased to surprise with their passion, expertise and commitment. It has been a privilege to have contributed to Discovery’s mission and to have helped so many networks and brands grow their ambition and accelerate their creative momentum.” He went on to thank the members of the senior management team, employees at all leverls, and to Discovery’s president and chief executive officer David Zaslav in particular “for his partnership and friendship and for giving me the opportunity to stretch new creative muscles in the nonfiction space.”

Prior to joining Discovery, Liguori served in numerous leadership roles across the media industry, including chairman, Entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Co.; president and chief executive officer of News Corp.’s FX Networks; senior vice president, Marketing for a joint venture at Fox; and senior vice president of Marketing at HBO.

Zaslav said, “Pete’s leadership, enthusiasm and creative vision have brought a fresh and important perspective to Discovery. Around the world, our programming, marketing and promotional efforts have greatly benefited from his energy, experience and creative eye. I am particularly grateful to Pete for tackling some pretty challenging special assignments, including the launches of our joint venture networks – The Hub, OWN and 3net. Pete is just a terrific guy and talented executive, and I want to thank him for the many significant contributions he has made at all levels of Discovery Communications.”

Discovery Channel president Clark Bunting previously announced that he will retire when his contract expires in March 2012, after 27 years with the company. Chief financial officer Bradley Singer has decided to leave when his contract expires at the same time.

Related links:

Variety –

Hollywood Reporter –

AdWeek –

Deadline Hollywood –