Staff Biographies

Christopher Liedel

President, Smithsonian Enterprises

March 1, 2016

Christopher Liedel is the president of Smithsonian Enterprises. Smithsonian Enterprises is the revenue-producing organization at the Smithsonian Institution with three primary divisions: media, retail and business development and licensing.

The media division includes Smithsonian and Air & Space magazines and their online products; Smithsonian Books; goSmithsonian, a brochure and online guide for visitors; and the Smithsonian Channel.

In September 2011, Smithsonian Channel was awarded its first Emmy in cinematography for a nature documentary. The three-year-old channel is the youngest to have won an Emmy award.

The retail operation includes museum and airport stores, the Smithsonian Catalog, three IMAX Theaters, food concessions and adult and student travel programs. Consumer-product licensing encompasses agreements with more than 40 companies permitting the use of the Smithsonian name following collaboration with Smithsonian staff and curators.

Before joining the Smithsonian, Liedel was at National Geographic for 16 years. He began as vice president for strategic planning and the following year was named executive vice president and CFO. He reported directly to the president and board of trustees and had oversight of more than $1 billion in investments, information services, distribution and facilities management. He oversaw a plant expansion to produce National Geographic magazine and negotiated subscription fulfillment outsources with Time Inc. Liedel assisted with the launch of National Geographic Channels and acquired a school publishing business.

His board affiliations include the Nobel Prize Education Fund; National Philanthropic Trust, which he chaired from 2005 to 2008; U.S. Golf Association, where he serves on the executive committee; and Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research Foundation.

From 1991 to 1996, Liedel was senior vice president at Ringier America Inc., an international media organization based in Switzerland. He established its Non-Traditional Business Group with seven technology units at Ringier.

Liedel, a resident of Vienna, Va., earned his bachelor’s degree at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and his master’s degree at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He is a Wharton Fellow from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Christopher A. Liedel, President of Smithsonian Enterprises

Photo: Rebecca Hale, National Geographic Society

Christopher A. Liedel, President of Smithsonian Enterprises and director of the Smithsonian Media group within Smithsonian Enterprises