Viacom has named Robert Bakish as acting president and CEO, effective Nov. 15.
Viacom has been going through management turmoil. First, the Sumner Redstone family, which controls Viacom, forced out CEO Philippe Dauman in August. Then interim CEO Tom Dooley said he would be leaving the company.
Viacom and CBS, which the Redstones also control, are both studying a combination of the two companies, which would likely put CBS CEO Les Moonves in charge.
Bakish, a Viacom veteran, had been head of Viacom’s international businesses for the past 10 years.
He is also being named president and CEO of the Viacom Global Entertainment Group. The new business combines Viacom’s International Media Networks division with the company’s Music and Entertainment Group, which includes MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike and Logo. TV Land and CMT will also be part of Bakish’s group.
TV Land and CMT had been combined with Nickelodeon in a Kids and Family Group. Nickelodeon Group will now consist only of kids' businesses.
BET will continue to function as a separate group.
Bakish joined Viacom in 1997.
"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."
"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," added Shari Redstone, vice chair of the board. "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."