ViacomCBS Promotes DeDe Lea to Run Government Relations

Asa Mathat
DeDe Lea

She has been executive vp global government affairs at Viacom since 2013 and began her career there in 1997.

When CBS and Viacom are merged, the combined company to be dubbed ViacomCBS will already have Doretha Lea as its executive vp global public policy and government relations, the companies announced Tuesday.

Lea will be installed in her new role upon the closure of the proposed merger and will report to Bob Bakish, who is set to be president and CEO of ViacomCBS, the same titles he holds now with Viacom.

Insiders also say that, upon the merger, John Orlando, the top lobbyist at CBS, will leave the company.

"John has been instrumental in leading the charge for CBS and broadcast television on regulatory issues in Washington for over two decades," CBS CEO Joe Ianniello said in an internal memo to employees.

Lea, known as "DeDe" by her colleagues, has been executive vp global government affairs at Viacom since 2013 and began her career there in 1997.

"DeDe has been an incredible advocate for Viacom, our audiences and the creative community over the past two decades," Bakish said. "She brings unmatched experience, relationships and leadership in this role."

Bakish added that Lea "will serve as the voice of ViacomCBS in Washington and in the highest levels of government around the world."

Viacom is expected to close its merger by the end of the year once it clears regulatory hurdles.

The companies, both of which are controlled by Shari and Sumner Redstone, on Aug. 13 said they would merge and that Ianniello would continue to top the CBS asset as its chief executive as well as its chairman.