Viacom’s international president and CEO, Bob Bakish, is set to be named interim chief executive of the wider business as the possibility of a merger with CBS is explored.
Bloomberg cited unnamed sources as saying Viacom International Media Networks boss Bakish was “close” to landing the post.
Current interim CEO Tom Dooley is leaving the National Amusements-owned business in November. He had replaced long-term CEO Philippe Dauman, who left in September after losing a board and courtroom battle with deputy chairman Shari Redstone and her father, National Amusements owner Sumner Redstone.
Viacom declined to comment on the Bakish link, but a TBI source said there was a board meeting on Monday (October 31), after which there may be resolution.
This all comes ahead of a potential Viacom-CBS re-merger, which the Redstones are pushing for following their bitter battle with Dauman. Viacom, whose stock has fallen by half in the past two years, would likely benefit from grouping with the stable CBS, which is also controlled by National Amusements.
Bloomberg reported Bakish has an opportunity to become permanent CEO at Viacom, though CBS executive chairman and CEO Les Moonves remains shareholders’ favourite to take over a combined business.
Viacom owns cable channels such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike and Comedy Central, and has a sprawling international business that Bakish has helmed since 2011.
Bakish oversaw the 2014 acquisition of Channel 5, which brought the UK terrestrial broadcaster, plus 5USA, 5Star and Milkshake! in to the Viacom fold.