As was rumored, Viacom today named Bob Bakish as acting president and CEO, effective Nov. 15. Following the departures of former CEOs Philippe Bauman in August and Tom Dooley in September, Bakish becomes Viacom’s third CEO in just over two months.
Bakish joined Viacom in 1997 and since 2007 served as president and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), formerly known as MTV Networks International.
Bakish will also serve as president and CEO of the Viacom Global Entertainment Group, a new business unit that combines Viacom's International Media Networks division with the Company's Music and Entertainment Group, home to MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike, Logo, and now TV Land and CMT as well.
I look forward to working closely with the Board of Directors, senior management and our talented and hardworking people around the world to realize the full potential of Viacom's outstanding assets for the benefit of our audiences, partners and stockholders. Content is the lifeblood of our business and my near-term focus will be to nurture our creative output and brands, ensuring they remain distinctive, differentiated and powerful in an increasingly competitive global media landscape,” said Bakish in a statement.
"We are determined to move forward aggressively to strengthen Viacom for the future, whether as a stand-alone company or in a potential combination with CBS. There is a great deal of opportunity ahead and Bob is a superb leader to drive this effort, fully empowered to take the actions necessary to position Viacom for success," said Tom May, chairman of the board, in a statement.
In addition to the management shakeup, Viacom is also renaming its Kids and Family Group as the "Nickelodeon Group" in order to “fully focus on building upon the success of the number one media network for kids, and exploit the broad array of growth opportunities in all facets of the kids segment, including recreation and hospitality.”
The changes for Viacom come as Viacom and CBS continue to explore options for recombining their companies.