UPDATED with Tom Gorke memo to staff: CBS and Viacom on Wednesday revealed the senior leadership appointments team that will sit atop the soon-to-combine company’s ad sales, distribution, licensing and consumer products divisions. The moves, which feature promotions from both companies in key revenue positions, include appointing longtime CBS ad chief Jo Ann Ross as President and Chief Advertising Revenue Officer, ViacomCBS Domestic Advertising Sales.
As part of the news, soon-to-be ViacomCBS president and CEO said in a memo to staff that two Viacom execs — Head of Ad Solutions Sean Moran, a 24-year company veteran, and Tom Gorke, Head of Distribution and Business Development — will exit the company when the merger closes.
Viacom-CBS Merger Eyes Early-December Close As National Amusements OKs Deal
“Both Sean and Tom are impassioned advocates for our brands, content and people, and have played critical roles in the turnaround and transformation of our company over the past few years,” Bakish wrote today (read the full memo below). “Along the way, they’ve been trusted advisors and important members of my senior team, and I want to take this opportunity to thank them both for their many contributions to Viacom.”
Ross, the first woman to serve as sales chief of a broadcast network, is the the longest-running sales head in broadcast with 19 years as CBS’ sales boss. She had been was promoted to President and Chief Advertising Revenue Officer, CBS Corp in August 2017.
All the new roles will take effect when the $30 billion merger that will create ViacomCBS is approved. That is expected by early December.
Along with Ross, other key roles include:
— John Halley, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Ad Solutions, Viacom, will serve as Chief Operating Officer, Advertising Revenue, and Executive Vice President, Advanced Marketing Solutions, reporting to Ross;
— Ray Hopkins, President of Television Networks Distribution, CBS, will serve as President, U.S. Network Distribution, ViacomCBS;
— Armando Nuñez, President and CEO, CBS Global Distribution Group, and Chief Content Licensing Officer, CBS, will serve as Chairman, Global Distribution and Chief Content Licensing Officer, ViacomCBS;
— Dan Cohen, President of Worldwide Home Entertainment & Television Distribution, Paramount, will serve as President, Global Content Licensing, ViacomCBS, reporting to Nuñez;
— Pam Kaufman, President, Viacom/Nickelodeon Global Consumer Products, will serve as President, Global Consumer Products, ViacomCBS;
— David Lynn, President and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks, will oversee the combined company’s international media networks, including Network 10 in Australia.
“These appointments mark an important step in the integration of CBS and Viacom,” Bakish said in a release announcing the executive structure. “The seasoned executives we announced today will capitalize on ViacomCBS’ must-watch programming, iconic library and franchises, as well as its global production capacity to drive important new distribution, content licensing and advertising opportunities all over the world.”
Variety broke news of the Ross promotion first today.
Here’s Bakish’s memo:
I’m pleased to share that today we have taken an important step in bringing our companies together with the announcement of leadership appointments across ViacomCBS’ revenue lines. The appointments will take effect once the transaction closes.
These talented executives will capitalize on our many strengths – including our must-watch programming, iconic library and franchises, and our global production capacity – to drive important new distribution, content licensing and advertising opportunities for ViacomCBS all over the world.
Please join me in congratulating these talented leaders.
· Jo Ann Ross, President and Chief Advertising Revenue Officer, CBS, will serve as President and Chief Advertising Revenue Officer, ViacomCBS Domestic Advertising Sales. Ross will direct all of ViacomCBS’ multiplatform media sales efforts, leading an integrated ad sales team that will drive revenue by connecting agency partners and advertisers with the company’s unmatched engagement, reach and innovative solutions.
· John Halley, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Ad Solutions, Viacom, will serve as Chief Operating Officer, Advertising Revenue, and Executive Vice President, Advanced Marketing Solutions, reporting to Ross. In this role, Halley will oversee commercial and business operations for the unified advertising team, as well as ViacomCBS’ portfolio of differentiated advanced advertising and marketing solutions across its linear, digital and social footprint.
· Ray Hopkins, President of Television Networks Distribution, CBS, will serve as President, U.S. Network Distribution, ViacomCBS, overseeing the combined company’s broadcast network affiliation distribution agreements, as well as domestic distribution of the company’s owned and operated television stations, channels and networks across all platforms. He will also drive ViacomCBS’ live linear content and on-demand digital distribution deals with third-party platforms.
· Armando Nuñez, President and CEO, CBS Global Distribution Group, and Chief Content Licensing Officer, CBS, will serve as Chairman, Global Distribution and Chief Content Licensing Officer, ViacomCBS, overseeing all content licensing, including worldwide distribution and domestic syndication, for ViacomCBS-owned programming to third-party platforms.
· Dan Cohen, President of Worldwide Home Entertainment & Television Distribution, Paramount, will serve as President, Global Content Licensing, ViacomCBS, reporting to Nuñez.
· Pam Kaufman, President, Viacom/Nickelodeon Global Consumer Products, will serve as President, Global Consumer Products, ViacomCBS, and will be responsible for the combined company’s consumer products business, including global oversight of product and business development, licensing, merchandising, retail sales, consumer insights and marketing.
· David Lynn, President and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks, will oversee the combined company’s international media networks, including Network 10 in Australia.
As a result of these appointments, Sean Moran and Tom Gorke will be transitioning out of their roles once the merger closes. Both Sean and Tom are impassioned advocates for our brands, content and people, and have played critical roles in the turnaround and transformation of our company over the past few years. Along the way, they’ve been trusted advisors and important members of my senior team, and I want to take this opportunity to thank them both for their many contributions to Viacom.
Over the course of his 24-year career at Viacom – including these last three as Head of Ad Solutions – Sean has applied his experience, expertise and strong network of relationships to create meaningful connections between leading advertisers and our coveted young and diverse audiences. A few years ago, Sean recognized how our clients’ needs were changing in a period of intense disruption, and he had the foresight to quickly reposition our go-to-market strategy and evolve our business to engage marketers across more touch points than ever before. Our suite of advanced marketing solutions is now the envy of the industry, and Sean’s efforts have been integral in not only making Viacom a true pioneer in advanced advertising – but also in fueling our return to domestic ad sales growth.
Tom has had a tremendous 15-year run at Viacom. As the Head of Distribution and Business Development, he has been a tireless champion of our efforts to strengthen and expand our distributor relationships beyond traditional carriage agreements – an approach that has enabled us to renew and extend the vast majority of our subscriber base in three years. Tom has also played an instrumental role in evolving our distribution strategy beyond our core linear business, super-serving consumers through new and innovative partnerships with next-generation platforms, from vMVPDs and skinny packs to SVOD and mobile services – transforming and growing our affiliate business in the process.
Thanks to their leadership and commitment, Viacom is a must-have partner to the top advertisers and distributors around the world. I’m grateful they will be here through close and wish them all the best in their next endeavors.
As we move toward the formal close of our merger in early December and begin the important next steps in becoming one company, keep an eye out for more updates on our progress.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about today’s news, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your manager or HR Business Partner.
Thank you, as always, for your hard work and commitment.
Gorke also sent this memo to the staff:
As most of you know by now, the time has come for me to leave Viacom.
In the last 14+ years I’ve been here at the company, the media landscape has shifted dramatically and I’ve had the great privilege to have a front row seat for all of it. From my first role here in digital BD, to building a digital distribution business from scratch, to having the tremendous opportunity to lead Distribution and Business Development for Viacom for the last three years, it has been a wild and rewarding ride.
There are many accomplishments I am proud of in that time, ranging from Viacom’s first digital distribution deals with Apple, Netflix, Hulu and others a decade ago, all the way to this year’s renewals with AT&T and the NCTC and the huge South Park deal with HBOMax announced just yesterday.
In addition to the deals, I’m also proud of the progress we made in transforming the business. When Bob selected me for this role in 2016, I told you that we’d be breaking with the past in a big way – fixing the strained relationships with our MVPDs, pushing our digital distribution strategy into the future, and, importantly, developing a culture defined by innovation and creativity. All of you embraced that approach and brought your best every day – and delivered results. We led the industry in expanding our MVPD partnerships into new areas like advanced advertising and co-productions, we launched new products including BET+ and NickHits, and we struck ground-breaking deals with new partners like T-Mobile, Walmart and Philo. I am so proud that we delivered on our ambitious goals and in doing so fundamentally strengthened Viacom’s distribution business in just three short years.
Through all of that, I’ve done my best to be a leader and mentor to all of you, and so in that vein I want to leave you with three final thoughts:
- Look at change as opportunity, not as threat. I tried to do this throughout my time here, both in my career but also in the how we work with our partners – and it served me well. It will serve you well too, particularly given all the change both at Viacom and in our industry.
- Engage in all things with integrity above all else. Whether it’s working within these walls, working with partners, negotiating deals – whatever it might be – keep things in perspective and remember that the most important thing is not what you got done, but how you got it done.
- Embrace the relationships. At the end of the day, the accomplishments – deals, results, etc. – are necessary to succeed, but they pass quickly as you move on to the next quarter or year. The relationships do not. So as you’re trying to beat budget or get the deal done or whatever, soak up the relationships you’re forming and nurture them.
I want to thank Bob for the opportunity to lead you, and most importantly I want to thank all of you for the blood, sweat and tears you’ve expended on my and Viacom’s behalf. You all are not just my respected colleagues, but you’re also my close friends and my family away from home. It has truly been an honor to be your leader, and I could not be prouder of all of you. Don’t stop now – keep crushing it.
And so, while it is bittersweet to part ways, I’m beyond excited for what comes next (see that? embracing change..), and I look forward to keeping in touch. And in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or to your managers with any questions.
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