Bob Bakish Out as Paramount Global CEO

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Amid the M&A drama enveloping Paramount Global, Bob Bakish is about to step down as CEO after eight years at the helm of Shari Redstone’s media empire.

Bakish is expected to resign under pressure as early as Monday. The executive has been with Paramount and its Viacom predecessor since 1997. He was recruited by Redstone in 2016 to help bring order to a company that had descended into public legal brawling among shareholders and a battle for control between Redstone and former Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman. Word of Bakish’s pending exit first surfaced Friday in the Wall Street Journal.

At present, Paramount‘s board of directors is deep in exclusive acquisitions talks with Skydance Media and RedBird Capital. Another group, Sony Pictures and Apollo Global Management, is poised to field a formal all-cash offer for the company next week as the May 3 expiration date of the exclusive negotiating window with Skydance nears. As the Skydance talks have dragged on for months, it’s become clear that Skydance CEO David Ellison would take the helm of the enlarged Paramount-Skydance operation while RedBird senior executive Jeff Shell, formerly CEO of NBCUniversal and a longtime Comcast executive, would serve Ellison’s No. 2 overseeing day-to-day operations. There has been no pretense about carving out a role for Bakish.

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A rep for Paramount Global declined to comment Saturday. The company is set to report its first quarter earnings on Monday. Bakish will not take part in the traditional conference call with analysts that accompanies quarterly earnings disclosures, CNBC reported.

Bakish was virtually assured of leaving his post as the company’s leader once the sale process is completed, no matter who acquires Paramount Global. The company has been through the wringer over the past year with a slumping stock price, successive quarters of weak earnings pulled down by losses in its streaming division. CNBC reported that Bakish’s exit was hastened by his opposition to the merger plan that is coming together with Skydance.

This post was originally published on Variety

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