Viacom on Monday officially named Bob Bakish its acting president and CEO. The CEO and president of Viacom International Media Networks takes over mid-month from Tom Dooley, who took over from Philippe Dauman, who lost a power struggle with Sumner and Shari Redstone, chairman emeritus and vice chair of the board, respectively.
While some observers view Bakish's role as a caretaker while Viacom and CBS decide whether or not they should merge -- then perhaps hire CBS CEO Leslie Moonves to take charge of the whole thing -- Bakish's letter to employees delivered Monday outlines his intent to run Viacom as a stand-alone company for the foreseeable future.
Here's the letter in its entirety:
I’m so excited and honored to be stepping in as Acting CEO. And I promise you, I’ll be hitting the ground running.
Because, no question, there’s a lot of work to do. But when I look at our company, I don’t see a mountain of challenges. I see a world of opportunity.
We have some of the most iconic brands in media and entertainment. A huge and growing global footprint. Passionate and loyal fans across every age, stage and screen. When we’re at our best, we tell great stories that drive culture and conversation. And, most importantly to me, we have amazing people.
And it’s time for our next evolution.
For me, getting to the specifics of that evolution will start with a full immersion across the business. But let me tell you what I know now:
– We’re not going to stand still while the CBS merger is being evaluated. I believe there’s a lot of work we can do in the near-term to make us stronger, no matter what the next chapter of Viacom is. It’s time to move forward.
– We need a vision, and a path to getting there. We don’t need change for the sake of change. We need a shared purpose and plan to guide our evolution, for the long and short term. And we’re going to work on that together starting this week.
– It will take everyone’s help, and everyone’s ideas. I don’t believe in silos, and I do believe good ideas can come from anywhere. I want us to share more, and scale more. To take more chances, to be more experimental, more unexpected.
– I love this company, our brands, and our people. And we all deserve to feel a lot better about the work we do every day. There’s an incredible amount of talent and great work happening across this organization that hasn’t gotten the credit it deserves. It’s time to align all of that against a shared vision, and elevate it.
I’m really looking forward to working with the leadership teams at the corporate and divisional level -- and all of you -- to move us forward. That will include partnering with Doug [Herzog], Cyma [Zarghami], Debra [Lee] and VIMN leadership to make sure the Media Networks reorganization that was announced helps to strengthen our brands in every market we operate, and allows us to make the most of our global scale.
I promise to be as transparent and as accessible to you as I can along the way. Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments or suggestions. I’d love to hear from you.
Our people are the heart and soul of the company. I’m very grateful for the talent, creativity and intelligence you bring every day, and I can’t wait to see where we go from here.