He will succeed Tom Dooley, who, as previously announced, will be leaving the company.
Bakish, who has 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 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 has also been appointed to the new role of president and CEO of the Viacom Global Entertainment Group, which combines Viacom’s International Media Networks division with the company’s Music and Entertainment Group.
Bakish joined Viacom in 1997 and has held leadership positions throughout the organisation, most recently serving as president and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), and its predecessor company MTV Networks International, since 2007.
Commenting on the appointments, Tom May, chairman of the board, said: “Bob’s record of innovation and achievement at Viacom, combined with his strategic vision and leadership ability, make him highly qualified for this position.
“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, added: “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.”