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Smith Leaves Kaitz

1/20/2006 7:04 PM Eastern

The Walter Kaitz Foundation will look for its third executive director in five years, as Debbie Smith leaves the diversity organization to take a position at Discovery Communications Inc.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, which oversees the foundation, has retained executive search firm Isaacson, Miller, which recruited Smith two years ago for the position. NCTA spokesman Rob Stoddard said the organization, which is charged with helping assure minority access to employment opportunities within the cable industry, will cast the widest net possible to recruit a new director, although no timetable has been set to name a successor.

“We want to identify someone with a great affinity for diversity, but who has skills and attributes related to foundation work and, if possible, some familiarity with the communications industry,” Stoddard said.

Smith will start April 3 as vice president of diversity and human resources services at Discovery, based in Silver Spring, Md.

She served nearly two years at the helm of the Kaitz foundation.

Under Smith’s tutelage, the foundation raised some $1.5 million each year during its annual fundraising dinner and increased awareness of and participation in the foundation’s Supplier Diversity program, which helps recruit minority vendors for work within the industry.

At a Glance
Kaitz executive directors
Source: Multichannel News research
Debbie Smith 2004-2006 Left to take position at Discovery Networks
Art Torres Jr. 2000-2003 Resigned amid questions over commitment to organization
Paula Winn 1994–1999 Resigned amid concerns over organization’s poor minority recruiting record

September