Paramount Board Might Oust CEO Bob Bakish Amid M&A Talks: Report

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Bob Bakish may be out at Paramount Global before any sale or merger deal for the media company is completed.

The board of directors of Paramount Global, including controlling shareholder Shari Redstone, have discussed a plan to oust Bakish as CEO, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous sources. Instead, the company would form an “office of the CEO” comprising Paramount Global’s division heads to run operations on an interim basis, per the report.

Reps for Paramount Global did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The report comes as Paramount — owner of Paramount Pictures, CBS, Paramount+ and cable channels like MTV and Comedy Central — has been in exclusive M&A talks with David Ellison’s Skydance Media the past two weeks. Meanwhile, word emerged last week that Sony Pictures Entertainment was mulling a joint bid with private-equity firm Apollo Global Management, which had offered more than $27 billion for the entirety of the media company.

The board has not made a decision about Bakish’s employment status and “it is possible the board could keep him in place,” the Journal report said.

In 2023, Paramount Global bestowed on Bakish a $31.26 million compensation package, according to the company’s April 11 proxy filing. His pay package last year included a $3 million base salary, $15.5 million in stock awards and a $12.4 million cash bonus. Overall, his pay last year was down 2.5% from the year prior.

The Paramount Global board’s compensation committee said in the filing, “Mr. Bakish continued to provide strategic leadership and management for our company during a time of tremendous challenges and opportunities.” Bakish and his senior team “continued the disciplined execution of our strategy to deliver world-class content that drives advertising, subscription, and licensing revenue streams, creating value for our partners and shareholders,” the committee said.

Amid the M&A negotiations, four members of Paramount’s board will exit. The four directors — Dawn Ostroff, former chief content and advertising business officer of Spotify; Nicole Seligman, former president of Sony Entertainment; Frederick Terrell, vice chairman of investment banking at Wells Fargo; and Rob Klieger, partner at Hueston Hennigan LLP, who had served as legal counsel to Sumner Redstone — will not stand for reelection at Paramount Global’s June 4 annual meeting, the company disclosed.

Ostroff, Seligman and Terrell are among the directors on Paramount Global’s special committee established to consider M&A proposals. At least one of the departing directors “expressed concerns about the potential Skydance deal,” the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing anonymous sources, in a story on the expected exit of the four board members.

This post was originally published on Variety

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