Viacom reorganises its operations

MUMBAI: Media conglomerate Viacom's co COO Tom Freston has announced reorganisation of operations under his leadership.


This includes the company's book publishing, theatrical exhibition, music publishing, theme park, licensing and merchandising, and international cable network businesses. Freston also oversees the operations of MTV Networks, BET, Showtime and the Paramount Motion Picture Group. Freston and Leslie Moonves were appointed co-presidents and co-COOs last month.

Freston announced the appointment of Bob Bakish to the newly-created position of executive VP, operations. In his new role, Bakish will have direct operating responsibility for the company's theatrical exhibition businesses, including the Famous Players Canadian theatre circuit, as well as the company's music publishing unit, Famous Music. In addition, Bakish will assist Freston in setting development and budget objectives. He will also help identify key operational, financial and strategic issues for the operations that report to Freston.

Reporting to Bakish are Robb Chase who is Famous Players president and CEO and Irwin Robinson who serves as Famous Music president.

Bakish was formerly MTV Networks ad sales executive VP and COO. He will assume his new role after the transition of his duties at MTV Networks.

Viacom's interests in movie theatres, theme parks and music publishing were previously part of Paramount Enterprises, a unit of the Viacom Entertainment Group.

Tom McGrath who served as Viacom Entertainment Group executive VP and Paramount Enterprises president will leave Viacom. He will stay on for an interim period to assist in the transition process.

MTV Networks Group president Herb Scannell will assume the additional responsibility of managing Paramount Parks and Viacom Consumer Products operations. This includes the merchandising and licencing of Paramount entertainment characters and properties. Paramount Parks and Viacom Consumer Products will be integrated into Nickelodeon Enterprises.

MTV Networks International president Bill Roedy will take on the additional oversight for Paramount Comedy Channel, UK and Paramount Comedy, Spain,

Freston added, "This announcement is about two things. First, we want to get the focus of the Paramount Motion Picture Group onto the central task of movie making. Sherry Lansing and I are in complete agreement about this. Secondly, we are reorganising Viacom's assets around core strengths in the Company to create a less duplicative and more efficient structure."

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