Paramount Global replaces CEO Bob Bakish with a troika of executives


NEW YORK (AP) — Paramount Global on Monday announced that Bob Bakish is stepping down as CEO of the film, television and multimedia company.

Bakish will be replaced by a troika of executives who will form a new “Office of the CEO.” The group includes George Cheeks, the CEO of CBS; Chris McCarthy, CEO of Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks; and Brian Robbins, the CEO of Paramount Pictures.

The company said Cheeks, McCarthy and Robbins will work closely with Chief Financial Officer Naveen Chopra and the board of directors. Among the issues the new CEO trio must face are a reported $11 billion offer from private-equity firm Apollo Global to acquire the studio, which produces films and television programs and runs the streaming service Paramount+.

There have also been reports of a possible merger with Skydance, David Ellison’s media company that has helped produce such Paramount releases as “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning.”

Co-CEOs are rare but far from unknown; roughly 100 public companies such as Salesforce, Netflix, Chipotle Mexican Grill, SAP and Oracle have all had co-CEOs for various periods of time over the past quarter century. A 2022 study published in the Harvard Business Review found that among 87 co-CEO led companies, dual leadership coincided with better-than-average stock performance. Roughly 60% of these companies outperformed.

CEO troikas, however, are far rarer, and their organizational issues can be much more complex. For instance, instead of being forced to compromise the way co-CEOs often are, two members of a troika can just outvote a third.

Paramount also released earnings for the quarter ended March 31 on Monday, reporting a net loss attributable to Paramount of $554 million, or 87 cents per share, a reduction from a $1.1 billion net loss, or $1.74 per share, in the same year-earlier period. The company reported revenue of $7.66 billion, a 5.8% increase from $7.27 billion a year earlier.

The earnings in the latest quarter, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to 62 cents per share. That topped expectations of 35 cents a share, according to a FactSet poll.

In what may have been a sly nod to the challenge it faces, Paramount closed out the Monday conference call in which it described the CEO changes and earnings with the theme to “Mission: Impossible.”

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