ViacomCBS Global Distribution Shake-Up: Dan Cohen to Succeed Armando Nuñez

Armando Nuñez - CBS Publicity-H 2018
Courtesy of Jeff Katz/CBS

Nuñez will transition to an advisory role after helping build CBS' global distribution business for over two decades.

Armando Nuñez is passing the baton at the ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group as Dan Cohen becomes the new head of the studio's division in June.

Nuñez, who previously transformed CBS Studios International into a worldwide distribution leader before the merger of the network with Viacom, will shift into an advisory role.

"Thanks to Armando's exceptional leadership, the critical work to unify our global licensing and distribution operations is complete, and the team is moving forward with a comprehensive strategy for the future," said ViacomCBS president and CEO Bob Bakish in a statement Wednesday.

The shake-up follows Nuñez in fall 2019 being named chairman, global distribution group and chief content licensing officer for ViacomCBS as Viacom and CBS completed its merger. He was charged then with leading the integration of CBS and Paramount's global licensing/distribution teams.

"When Bob asked me to lead this group post-merger, part of the plan was that I would transition from day-to-day leadership to an advisory role once the two teams were integrated and a future strategy was set," said Nuñez in his own statement. 

"Working side by side with Dan, that process has gone faster than expected and is now complete. We are well-positioned wherever this rapidly evolving media landscape takes us, and I can't think of anyone better to lead us forward than Dan," he added.

Bakish and Nuñez in internal emails to ViacomCBS' global distribution group obtained by THR also touted the management shakeup, which includes Barry Chamberlain continuing to lead international distribution, while Steve LoCascio will continue to oversee domestic distribution of studio product.

For his part, Cohen in a statement said he and Nuñez had laid down a solid foundation for the global division: "We've built a world-class team and have a treasure trove of quality content that will propel this division forward. I couldn't be more excited to lead this group into the future."

In his new role as president of the ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group, Cohen will oversee global sales of ViacomCBS product that airs on the CBS Television Network, The CW, CBS All Access and Showtime, as well as programming from Paramount Pictures, Paramount Television, Paramount Players, Paramount Animation, CBS Television Studios, CBS News and the Viacom brands.

He will also look to monetize ViacomCBS' library of film and television titles and run worldwide home entertainment for the company. Cohen most recently served as president, global content licensing for ViacomCBS since the merger in December 2019.

Previously, Cohen served as president of worldwide home entertainment & television distribution for Paramount Pictures, which he joined in 2017.

Nuñez joined CBS Broadcast International as president in July 1999. In January 2000, following the merger of CBS Television and King World Productions, he added the title of executive vp of CBS Enterprises. He was named president of CBS Studios International (formerly CBS Paramount International Television) in August 2004 following the merger with Paramount International Television.

Before joining CBS, Nuñez served as president of Universal Television. From 1994-97, he was president of New World International Television Distribution and before that, executive vp international sales at Viacom Enterprises.

The internal email from Armando Nuñez to staff follows:

Good morning, team…I’m reaching out today with an update about our division. Early next month, I will begin a transition to an advisory role for ViacomCBS and pass the baton to Dan Cohen to lead our Global Distribution Group. This completes a plan that has been in the works since pre-merger, when Bob asked me to lead the newly combined CBS and Paramount group. My charge was to integrate our teams strategically and position our licensing/distribution operations for the future.

Working side by side with Dan, we have accomplished this much faster than any of us expected. We are now a fully integrated global content powerhouse with 24 offices and a library of nearly 4,000 films and 140,000 episodes of television. We have the right people in place, and we have come up with the right strategy to exploit these amazing assets wherever this rapidly evolving media landscape takes us. We also have the right person to lead us forward.

Dan is an accomplished, experienced licensing executive, a great colleague and a good friend. Add to that, he’s got a biting sense of humor that makes every meeting more fun. I’m confident Dan will lead this group to outstanding heights (and humor). Barry Chamberlain will continue to lead international distribution, and Steve LoCascio will continue to do the same on the domestic side. They are both outstanding executives who are the best in the business.

I’ll still be around to help further with the integration…supporting Dan, Barry and Steve…but I will step back from the day-to-day. It has been the honor of a lifetime to lead this group in its many incarnations during the last 21 years. How many execs can say they worked on integrating CBS and Paramount in 2004…splitting them apart in 2005…and putting it back together again in 2020! I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world and establish client relationships that bridge many decades.

I love the concept of exporting Americana and take great pride in being part of a team that built lucrative global television franchises. I’ve also had the privilege to help establish co-ventures in the U.K. and EMEA/Africa and the acquisition of Network 10/Australia. It has been truly exciting to be part of a distribution business that has evolved with such sophistication in how it licenses and windows content across so many platforms. Most of all though, it is the daily comradery and relationships with the team that I will miss the most. Great memories of our time together closing deals at all hours across insane time zones…sales conferences…staff meetings…and intense preparations for our tentpole events such as May screenings, MIPCOM and NATPE.

Even better are the memories of the lighter, quieter moments of companionship we shared on the road amidst all the action – sipping espresso at cafes, sharing a pint in a pub, or dining in one of the many unique restaurants we discovered around the world. Thank you to all my incredible teammates who helped and supported our efforts along the way. Thank you to every one of our employees for the role you will play going forward. Thanks to Bob for giving me the opportunity to tee up this division for its future. This global distribution group will be a major force for ViacomCBS going forward.

Take it away, Dan!