Tom Dooley is about to make history for the shortest time served as CEO of a major media company. Mr. Dooley ascended to the top of Viacom, a one time pop culture media giant after his boss Philippe Dauman was forced out after a decade of decline. Mr. Dooley had foolishly hoped to become the company’s permanent CEO, totally ignoring the fact that as COO under Dauman, he is almost equally responsible for the fall of the company. Well he finally woke up to that reality and has informed the company’s mostly new board that he will stand down just before Thanksgiving on November 15. This clears the path for many things to happen at the company now and Viacom’s de facto boss Shari Redstone will decide with the support of her board of course. One possibility that keeps popping up, is a re-merger with CBS which would place CBS CEO Les Moonves at the top of a sprawling media empire.
Another scenario is installing fresh new leadership from outside. Maybe Tom Freston could be convinced even though he said earlier that he has no interest. Maybe Jeffrey Katzenberg formerly of Dreamworks Animation? Maybe Lauren Zalaznick formerly of NBC-Universal or maybe even CNN boss Jeff Zucker. The choices are out there but do any of them even want the job? Ms. Redstone is believed to also be looking inside the Viacom apparatus for a possible new CEO. Duties could be split between a new CEO and maybe a President/COO. Some possible suitors from inside could include current President of Kids & Family Cyma Zarghami, Viacom Music/Entertainment Chief Doug Herzog, BET Networks CEO Debra Lee, or Robert Bakish who is currently President/CEO of Viacom’s international operations. The waiting game begins. Then again this CEO search could all be a distraction while Ms Redstone pulls out all stops to convince CBS CEO Les Moonves to takeover.
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