Viacom’s Third Interim CEO Seeks Better Internal Culture


As the third acting President/CEO of Viacom in under three months’ time, Bob Bakish may be under some intense scrutiny from his peers, from Wall Street, and from the business media.

That could be why Bakish spoke with Reuters following the completion of his first week in his new role, as Bakish — in Reuters’ view — “appears intent on having an impact while in charge of the company.”

Reuters was quick to note that “many investors” see Bakish as a caretaker, awaiting Viacom’s reunification with CBS Corp.

But, in an interview held at Bakish’s New York office, he said part of his new role is to “revitalize the culture. It’s about starting to create a positive buzz and having people believe we can do great things.”

He added that he is committed to rebuilding some of Viacom’s affiliate distributor relationships in the U.S.

But, he declined to offer details on how he plans to turn around Viacom and had no words on whether or not efforts to recombine CBS and Viacom could change based on his performance.

Bakish did reveal that he is intent on breaking the silos at Viacom, and that a 15-person task force has been established to help fix things that can be addressed in the short term.

At present, some nine separate committees are overseeing short-term goals.

The chat with Bakish comes as Viacom’s MTV sees another top-level departure, as The Hollywood Reporter says the network’s “Head of Originals,” Michael Klein, has exited after a six-month tenure. The news came via an internal memo obtained by the publication.

Klein’s successor is Nina Diaz, who oversees unscripted programming at VH1 and adds his former duties.

The news came today via an announcement from MTV, VH1 and Logo President Chris McCarthy, who replaced Sean Atkins as MTV President one month ago.