Viacom's Top Distribution Executive Set to Leave - Broadcasting & Cable

Viacom's Top Distribution Executive Set to Leave

Tom Gorke named to replace Denise Denson
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Viacom said that its top distribution executive, Denise Denson, is leaving the company and will be replaced by Tom Gorke, who is being promoted.

Viacom has been going through a lot of management turnover as its cable businesses struggle. CEO Philippe Dauman was pushed out by the family of Sumner Redstone, which controls the company, in August. His successor as interim CEO, Tom Dooley, also left the company.

The company also said its advertising sales chief, Jeff Lucas, will leave after the upfront during the summer and the head of MTV, Sean Atkins, was replaced by Chris McCarthy, who also runs VH1.

Denson has been with Viacom since 1994 and was named executive VP, global content distribution in 2015. She was also executive VP, content distribution and marketing for Viacom Media Networks since 2007.

"Viacom is deeply committed to strengthening relationships with our distributors, and finding exciting new paths to bring our industry-leading content to their viewers," said Bob Bakish, interim CEO of Viacom. "We thank Denise Denson for her many years of service and her extraordinary dedication to Viacom, and wish her all the best."

Without sports, Viacom has not had much leverage with distributors, which means despite having more viewers than other cable network groups, its affiliate revenues are lower than their competitors. Viacom was also early to provide content for streaming VOD outlets like Netflix, a strategy that might have caused a drop in ratings a couple of years ago for Nickeldeon, the leading kids Cable  channel,and helped jumpstart a formidable online competitor for children's viewing.

Gorke was executive VP of sales and business development for content distribution at Viacom Media Networks and BET networks. He joined Viacom in 2005. Before that he was manager of strategy and investments for the CBS Internet Group.

"Tom has a track record of creative, successful dealmaking, including several major first-of-their-kind digital distribution agreements that helped launch groundbreaking streaming platforms for new entrants as well as existing MVPDs. He is a thoughtful executive who will be fully empowered to design new and innovative strategies to work with our important distribution partners," Bakish said.

"Viacom's cable networks are the most-watched in the U.S., and have more subscribers around the world than any other family. I'm looking forward to expanding my work for these brands and appreciate Bob's confidence in me and my team," said Korke. "It's an exciting time - the industry environment is constantly changing and I believe there continues to be great opportunity for our brands and programming. We're looking forward to working closely with our distribution partners around the world to think flexibly and identify new ways to expand our businesses together."

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