The dominoes are falling at Viacom. Days after CEO Philippe Daumon’s ouster, longtime head of corporate communications has resigned. Carl Folta had been at the company for more than two decades, having joined when Viacom acquired Gulf+Western parent Paramount Communications in 1994.
“My long-time friend and colleague and our head of corporate communications Carl Folta has decided to move on to the next adventure in his successful and ever-eventful career,” interim CEO Tom Dooley wrote in a memo to staff. “Day in and day out, he literally had the hardest job in the company–and he handled it all with grace, skill and a smile.” Read his full statement below.
Folta had been at G+W for a decade before Viacom bought Paramount. Before working for Dauman, he was the senior spokesman and adviser to Sumner Redstone. Dooloey noted that Folta’s legacy includes backing the creation of Know HIV/AIDS, the Emmy- and Peabody-winning cross-platform public education partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation, which launched in 2003. “Yes, those are real Emmys in his office,” Dooley wrote.
Here is Dooley’s full memo:
Good Afternoon,There is so much to be proud of at this company, and nothing makes me more proud than the people I get to work with every day. Today we say farewell to one of the best. After masterfully representing our company for 32 years, my long-time friend and colleague and our head of corporate communications Carl Folta has decided to move on to the next adventure in his successful and ever-eventful career.Carl began his time with us in 1984 at Gulf+Western and joined Viacom in 1994 with the Paramount Communications merger. Since then, he has been on the front lines of every major initiative and transaction in the history of our company. Nobody fought harder for Viacom and all of us. Not only did Carl guide the company through some of the most active and challenging periods in the media industry, but he also helped Sumner Redstone become one of the most recognized and globally acclaimed media executives in history.Day in and day out, he literally had the hardest job in the company–and he handled it all with grace, skill and a smile. Philippe and I and every one on our senior team relied on and trusted Carl every step of the way. It is hard to imagine anyone else who could have navigated so much change so well and retained his sanity and good humor. He always found the best in us and made sure that others did too.As a professional communicator and strategist, he is second to none, and in an era of specialists, Carl can literally do it all. He is as comfortable communicating about financial transactions and results as he is pitching the media on our latest innovation or programming slate. He has been at the forefront of his craft for decades–expertly bridging the era of manual typewriters and teletype, to data insights and Snapchat. Along the way he found time to recruit and mentor many of the brightest and most accomplished communicators in our company and even teach an occasional graduate class at NYU.I know that Carl takes great satisfaction in his leadership of our corporate social responsibility and philanthropy activities. Just as he is an ambassador for our company at large, he also embodies our spirit of giving and volunteerism. In fact, 20 years ago, he was one of the architects with me of our annual Viacommunity Day, which he has nurtured and grown to this day.Carl was also responsible for our most impactful work in supporting our communities. Among the many initiatives, he championed the creation ofKNOW HIV/Aids, the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning cross-platform public education partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation, which we launched in 2003 (yes, those are real Emmys in his office). He was also the driving force behind the company’s current partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Get Schooled, a groundbreaking multi-year program to renew the promise of education in America and empower young people with tools and inspiration to get the education they need to succeed.Whatever is next, I have no doubt he will do it with his usual energy and style. I look forward to continuing our friendship for many years to come.Sincerely,Tom
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