As anticipated, Viacom (VIAB) - Get Viacom Inc. Class B Report on Monday promoted the head of its international operations to serve as acting president and CEO as the company seeks to reverse declining financials.
Robert 'Bob' Bakish, head of Viacom International Media Networks, will take the reins as chief executive on Nov. 15 of a film and television company that has spent much of the past two year locked in a bitter fight over corporate control.
Bakish will take over for Tom Dooely, the company's chief operating officer, who had been serving in an interim capacity after Shari and Sumner Redstone, Viacom's controlling owners, ousted Philippe Dauman in September after 10 years at the helm of the New York owner of MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and the Paramount Pictures film studio. The Restones have been pushing Viacom to reunite withCBS (CBS) - Get CBS Corporation Class B Report .
Viacom's largest TV networks have struggled in recent years as its core audience of young people has turned their attention to websites led by Facebook (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report and Alphabet's (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report YouTube as well as subscription-based platforms such as Netflix (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) Report , Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report Prime Video and Hulu.
But Bakish's role could change in the coming months if Viacom merges with CBS, as the Redstones desire.
Sensing that Bakish would want to have some stability going forward, Viacom also named him to a new position of CEO of the Viacom Global Entertainment Group, combining its international networks group, which he has headed for 10 years, with its music and entertainment unit, which oversees MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike and Logo. Two other networks, TV Land and CMT, will be added to the group under Bakish.
Turning around Viacom won't be easy, either for Bakish or CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, in the event the two companies eventually merge, with CBS holding a majority stake. Viacom's profit tumbled 27% in its fiscal third quarter, ended in July, a reflection of weakness at its cable TV networks. U.S. advertising sales dropped 4% in the quarter, its eighth-straight quarterly decline.
Paramount suffered an operating loss of $26 million in the third quarter compared with a profit of $48 million a year earlier as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows failed at the box office. The film, according to Box Office Mojo, has brought in just $245.6 million worldwide after costing $135 million to produce. Studios split admission revenue with theaters.
Viacom is set to report the results from its September quarter on Nov. 9.