Viacom Inc. today (July 29) said the president of its Paramount Enterprises operation would leave the company and said it would reorganize some operations under newly appointed co-president Tom Fresto

Viacom Inc. today (July 29) said the president of its Paramount Enterprises operation would leave the company and said it would reorganize some operations under newly appointed co-president Tom Freston.

New York-based Viacom said Tom McGrath would leave the company as a result of the shuffle, which has the head of the company's book business Simon & Schuster reporting directly to Freston and puts MTV Networks Group President Herb Scannell in charge of parks and consumer products, among other changes.

Bob Bakish, who led MTV Networks' ad sales efforts, was appointed as the new executive VP of operations, reporting to Freston. He will oversee the theatrical exhibition businesses theatrical exhibition businesses, including the Famous Players Canadian theater circuit, and the music-publishing unit, Famous Music. Among those now reporting to Bakish is Famous Music president Irwin Robinson.

The shuffle is an attempt to refocus Paramount Motion Picture Group back to moviemaking by giving responsibility of its units to other division heads. Previously, Viacom's theme parks, movie theaters and music-publishing operations fell under the Paramount Enterprises umbrella.

"We are reorganizing Viacom's assets around core strengths in the company to create a less duplicative and more efficient structure," Freston said in a statement.

The moves are another episode in a series of events following the abrupt resignation of Viacom president Mel Karmazin, whose career-long tussle with Sumner Redstone, CEO of Viacom, led to his departure in June.

Redstone promoted MTV Networks chief Freston and CBS overseer Les Moonves to co-president spots and anointed the two as potential successors to the top executive position after he is expected to retire in three years.

Judy McGrath was promoted to the CEO spot at MTV Networks, replacing Freston, in July.

--Reuters

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