Nickelodeon President Cyma Zarghami stepping down

Cyma Zarghami's departure was rumored earlier this year. (Justin Stephens Photography)

Confirming rumors from earlier this year, Viacom announced that Cyma Zarghami is stepping down as president of Nickelodeon Group after more than 30 years with the network.

Sarah Levy, chief operating officer of Viacom Media Networks, will take over on an interim basis.

“Over the course of her career, Cyma has played an integral role in growing Nickelodeon into the dominant force in kids’ entertainment. Her instincts for creating content and experiences that kids love have been vital to the brand’s success around the world,” said Viacom CEO Bob Bakish in a statement. “Looking to the future, we are excited to build on this strong foundation as we continue to evolve the business and connect with young audiences in new and innovative ways. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Cyma for her leadership and wish her every success.”

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Zarghami’s contract was up this year and that she and Viacom weren’t sure she would be sticking around. The report surfaced after Levy was put in charge of certain strategy and operational functions at Nickelodeon.

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Zarghami joined Nickelodeon in 1985 and had served as president since 2006. Her exit follows the recent departure of Debra Lee, CEO and chairman of BET. Lee’s role had been diminished somewhat at BET after Scott M. Mills took over as president of the network group in December 2017 .

Like Zarghami, Lee also had a lengthy tenure with Viacom. She started at BET in 1986, became president and COO in 1996, and then chairman and CEO in 2005.