ViacomCBS Builds Out Post-Merger Executive Ranks

CBS Corporation
ViacomCBS executives Jo Ann Ross, John Halley, Ray Hopkins, Armando Nunez

CBS' Armando Nunez will oversee global distribution and Jo Ann Ross is set to become president and chief advertising revenue officer at the combined company.

As Viacom and CBS look to reorganize ahead of closing their $30 billion recombination, likely in early December, ViacomCBS on Wednesday unveiled the latest additions to its post-remerger leadership ranks.

Armando Nuñez, president and CEO of CBS global distribution group, and chief content licensing officer at CBS, will serve as chairman, global distribution and chief content licensing officer at ViacomCBS, overseeing all content licensing, including worldwide distribution and domestic syndication, for ViacomCBS-owned programming to third-party platforms.

And Jo Ann Ross, president and chief advertising revenue officer at CBS and a 27-year veteran of the media player will serve in the same post at ViacomCBS, once that deal is completed. Elsewhere John Halley, executive vp and COO of Ad Solutions at Viacom is set to become COO, advertising revenue and executive vp advanced marketing solutions at the merged entity.

"These appointments mark an important step in the integration of CBS and Viacom,” said Bob Bakish, president and CEO of Viacom, and who will serve as president and CEO of ViacomCBS upon the close of the transaction, in a statement. CBS CEO Joe Ianniello has already been tapped to run the CBS assets.

National Amusements, the holding company controlled by the Redstone family, earlier this week indicated it had voted to approve the merger of Viacom and CBS. National Amusements controls a majority of CBS and Viacom shares, paving the way for the deal to close.

CBS and Viacom were previously part of the same National Amusements-controlled company, but Sumner Redstone had Viacom spin off CBS in 2006. Redstone’s daughter, Shari Redstone, will be board chair of ViacomCBS once the merger is completed.

Other new appointments include Ray Hopkins, president of television networks distribution at CBS being named as president, U.S. network distribution at ViacomCBS, while Dan Cohen, president of worldwide home entertainment and television distribution at Paramount will serve as president, Global Content Licensing at ViacomCBS, reporting to Nuñez.

And Pam Kaufman, president, Viacom/Nickelodeon global consumer products, will serve as president, global consumer products at ViacomCBS, while David Lynn, president and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks, will oversee the combined company’s international media networks, including Network 10 in Australia.

The merger, subject to closing conditions, is expected to close by the end of the year. The companies announced their $30 billion merger plans in August, touting their complementary assets and the potential of $500 million in annual cost savings.

An internal memo from Bob Bakish outlining the additions to the ViacomCBS leadership ranks follows:

Team,

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, however, 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 our 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. Best, Bob