Michael Desmarais, senior VP of brand and consumer insights at MTV, VH1 and Logo, is exiting his post. He has spent more than a decade at Viacom, parent company of the networks.
“When you work at a place with such great ambitions and the capacity to affect so many lives, you often take stock in the small moments,” he said in a note to staff. “The value of what Viacom is doing would suddenly strike me, for example, as I cheered on the fearless queens on RuPaul’s Drag Race and celebrated the triumphant return of Jersey Shore. These personal moments reminded that my professional efforts were part of something big.”
Desmarais said some of his favorite moments with the networks were spent with viewers. “To hear directly about their lives, their hopes, their worries and their ambitions was a great privilege and affirmed my belief in the power of research: to give voice—at full volume—to the audience,” he wrote.
An internal memo from Colleen Fahey-Rush, executive VP of insights & analytics, and chief research officer at Viacom; Chris McCarthy, president of MTV, VH1 and Logo; and Amy Doyle, general manager of MTV, VH1 and Logo, said Desmarais was starting on “a new chapter” but did not specify what that was.
“Michael has been instrumental in the reinvention of VH1 and MTV and helped us to drive record growth,” they said. “He and his team have been passionate advocates for our audiences and our brands, making sure we always put our fans first. From focus groups, to cultural trends, to content deep dives–he has provided invaluable insights that have inspired us all to think bigger and better.”
The trio saluted Desmarais’ “leadership, positivity and unique ability to work seamlessly across every department.”