Bob Bakish out as CEO of Paramount Global

His position to be reconditioned as an “Office of the CEO” as company’s bid with Skydance hangs in the balance

Coming as no surprise given the speculation surrounding his future was a hot topic all weekend, Paramount CEO Bob Bakish has stepped down.

In his place, Paramount announced a new management structure called the “Office Of The CEO,” run by three executives: CBS CEO George Cheeks, Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks CEO Chris McCarthy, and Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon CEO Brian Robbins (yes, that Brian Robbins, who once starred in the 1980s sitcom Head of The Class.)

All are part of the Paramount Global Empire, which includes CBS’ WBBM-TV, the company’s only Chicago property.

“I have tremendous confidence in George, Chris and Brian,” said chair of the board and controlling shareholder Shari Redstone,  said in a statement. “They have both the ability to develop and execute on a new strategic plan and to work together as true partners.”

Skydance had been in talks with Paramount to buy a controlling stake in the company. However, on Monday afternoon, Skydance made their “best and final offer” for the company, which put the deal in jeopardy. Both companies entered into a thirty-day exclusive negotiating period but now winding down. If this latest offer fails, other suitors such as Apollo Global Management and Sony could re-emerge. 

Bakish arrived at Paramount in 1997 when the company was known as Viacom, who acquired the movie studio three years earlier. After CBS merged with Viacom in 1999 after being spun off from the network 28 years ago, the two split in 2005 with Bakish heading to the Viacom side of the company, becoming interim CEO in 2016 after the ouster of Tom Freston. Bakish oversaw the reunification of the two in 2019 as ViacomCBS and was renamed Paramount Global in 2022. Recently, Bakish and Redstone had often clashed over the direction of the company as the stock price continued to sink as the price of its NFL contract and losses for Paramount Plus continued to mount.

Among the disagreements between Redstone and Bakish were the lackluster bids received for Showtime and BET, forcing Paramount to take each off the market, and Bakish’s opposition to Skydance taking over controlling interest of the company.

Paramount’s earnings call on Monday didn’t provide any insight into the moves and declined to take questions from reporters, lasting less than ten minutes. A potential blackout of CBS stations and Paramount’s cable networks on Charter’s Spectrum also wasn’t addressed as an agreement between the two companies expires Tuesday night. Charter owns systems in the nation’s two largest markets, New York and Los Angeles.

On that earnings call, Paramount announced they lost $554 million, down from the $1.12 billion loss reported last year. Revenue was up to $7.69 billion, up six percent from last year thanks in part to CBS having the Super Bowl in February, and Paramount Plus added 3.7 million subscribers for a total of 71 million – but still far behind market leaders Netflix and Disney Plus. Financial losses for Paramount Plus were nearly cut in half from $511 million to $286 million. 


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