Bob Bakish has ended his nearly 30-year tenure at Paramount Global and its predecessor Viacom, stepping down as CEO amid ongoing merger discussions with Skydance Media. A new leadership structure, the Office of the CEO, has been established, with CBS’s George Cheeks, Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios’ Chris McCarthy, and Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon’s Brian Robbins dividing executive responsibilities. Bakish, who described his seven-year leadership as the ‘greatest honor,’ will serve as a senior adviser to ensure a smooth transition until October 2024. The leadership change aligns with the company’s release of Q1 2024 results, though the earnings call was notably absent of Bakish and devoid of analyst Q&A. Paramount Global and controlling shareholder Shari Redstone remain in merger talks with Skydance, with exclusive negotiation rights possibly extending beyond the May 3 deadline. Redstone has committed to allowing nonvoting shareholders to approve any Skydance merger, with reports of Skydance offering a significant cash sum and a potential competing bid from Sony Pictures Entertainment and Apollo Global Management. A key contractual renewal with Charter Communications looms, threatening a blackout of Paramount’s key networks. Bakish’s departure, which comes with a significant severance package, harmonizes with comprehensive strategic plans focusing on growth acceleration, streamlined operations, balance sheet strength, and streaming strategy optimization.

Media & Entertainment, Private Equity,United States

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