The Board of Directors of Viacom Inc. has appointed Robert ("Bob") Bakish as Acting President and Chief Executive Officer, effective November 15. He will succeed Tom Dooley, who, as previously announced, will be leaving the company.
Bakish, who has successfully built Viacom's international business over the past 10 years, will lead efforts to strengthen Viacom going forward. He will be responsible for accelerating the growth of Viacom's industry-leading networks and reinvigorating Viacom's brands. He will focus on investing in and developing new content, expanding distribution and pursuing strategic growth opportunities in Viacom's core businesses.
Bakish is also being appointed to the new role of President and Chief Executive Officer of the Viacom Global Entertainment Group. This new business unit combines Viacom's International Media Networks division with the Company's Music and Entertainment Group, which houses some of the Company's most iconic brands including MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike and Logo. In addition, TV Land and CMT will join the Global Entertainment Group portfolio under Bakish.
Viacom's Kids and Family Group will be reestablished as the "Nickelodeon Group" 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. BET Networks, home of leading brands among African American adults, will continue to function as a dedicated and separate group.
Bakish joined Viacom in 1997 and has held leadership positions throughout the organization, most recently serving as President and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), and its predecessor company MTV Networks International, since 2007. In this role, Mr. Bakish was responsible for all of Viacom's media networks and related businesses outside the United States. Under his leadership, the company's international business has built an unmatched global presence, with Viacom's more than 200 TV channels reaching a cumulative 3.9 billion subscribers, and international revenue doubling during his tenure.
"Bob's record of innovation and achievement at Viacom, combined with his strategic vision and leadership ability, make him highly qualified for this position," said Tom May, Chairman of the Board. "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."
Shari Redstone, Vice Chair of the Board, said, "To be a successful leader in the industry today requires continuous flexibility, a global perspective, a commitment to innovation and an embrace of change. Bob is an exemplary forward thinker who embodies these traits, embraces disruption and brings teams along with him. Under his leadership our great employees will be supported in their efforts to bring world class content and experiences to our audiences, while we continue to drive improvements in Viacom's financial performance."
Bakish said, "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."