Bob Bakish
Born (1963-12-14) December 14, 1963 (age 60)
EducationMaster of Business Administration
Alma materDwight-Englewood School
Columbia University
OccupationCEO of Paramount Global
EmployerParamount Global
OrganizationParamount Global
Termsince December 4, 2019

Robert Marc Bakish (/ˈbækɪʃ/ BACK-ish;[1] born December 14, 1963) is an American business executive. He has been president and CEO of Paramount Global since December 4, 2019, formerly holding the same position at Viacom before the merger with CBS Corporation.

Early life and education

A native of New Jersey,[2] Bakish attended Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood, New Jersey, graduating in 1981.[3][4][5]

He received a Bachelor of Science in operations research in 1985 from Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science.[6][7] He earned an MBA from Columbia Business School in 1989.[6]

After receiving his MBA, Bakish joined the management and technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton in 1990, and rose to become a partner in its media and entertainment practice.[8][citation needed]

Career at Paramount

Early positions

In February 1997, Bakish joined Viacom. Initially as vice president of planning and development,[8] he became senior vice president of planning, development and technology in January 1998.[8]

In October 1999, he became the executive vice president of planning and business development of Viacom's subsidiary MTV Networks.[9] From 2001 through 2004, he was executive vice president and chief operating officer of advertising sales at MTV Networks.[10]

In 2004, he was appointed executive vice president of operations of Viacom, Inc.,[11][12][13][14][15] and in 2006 he was also appointed executive vice president of Viacom Enterprises.[16][17][18][19][20] In these two positions, he was responsible for Viacom's strategic planning and business development plus oversight of a range of business units including Famous Music, Famous Players, Viacom Plus sales and information services and technology, as well as heading Viacom's cross-divisional marketing council.[21][18][22][12]

Head of international operations

In January 2007 Bakish became President of MTV Networks International (MTVNI),[23] with financial and management responsibility for MTVNI, overseeing all MTV Networks operations outside the U.S.[22] He immediately restructured MTVNI, cutting 8% of the workforce in addition to merging some overseas units with the UK business and devolving responsibilities for Latin American operations to new offices across the region.[24] He launched the popular Colors franchise of networks via the Viacom18 joint venture in the high-growth market of India.[25][26][2][27] MTVNI had double-digit, year-on-year growth during his tenure.[28][29]

When MTVNI CEO Bill Roedy resigned in January 2011, Bakish was promoted to the newly created position of president and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN).[30][31][32][33][34] This promotion included responsibility for all Viacom media networks and operations internationally, including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, VH1, VIVA, TMF, Game One and MTV Tres;[35][4] plus oversight of all of Viacom's international TV-related joint ventures, including Viacom18 in India and ViacomSBS in Korea, as well as channel ventures with BSkyB in the UK and Foxtel in Australia.[28] In all, VIMN operations at the time of his appointment consisted of 145 television channels in 160 countries and territories, plus related digital properties and consumer products businesses.[33] During his tenure, Bakish expanded Viacom's international footprint,[26][36] and VIMN was Viacom's most successful division; revenue doubled, and VIMN grew to more than 200 television channels.[25][37][2] Under his leadership, the Paramount Channel was launched, offering movies and television shows in Europe, Latin America and Russia.[25][36] He oversaw the expansion of networks such as Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Spike to an increasing number of foreign markets,[25][36] and helped orchestrate the acquisition of Channel 5 in the UK and Telefe in Argentina.[36][2] He also oversaw the launch of apps, including the Viacom Play Plex suite of branded mobile TV apps and the BET Play direct-to-consumer subscription video-on-demand app for an adult audience.[25][38][26][39][40]


In October 2016, Bakish was named acting president and CEO of Viacom effective November 15, replacing interim CEO Tom Dooley.[41][37][42][43] Simultaneously, he was also appointed president and CEO of the newly created Viacom Global Entertainment Group, combining Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) with Viacom's Music and Entertainment group, which includes MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike TV and Logo TV; two additional networks, TV Land and CMT, also joined the Global Entertainment Group.[41][37][42][43] Optimistic that Bakish could make good on his plans to turn Viacom's core U.S. cable networks and its Paramount Pictures film studio around, the board of directors of Viacom Inc. made Bakish's appointment as president and CEO permanent on December 12, 2016.[44][36][45]

In early 2017, Bakish laid out a five-point plan to turn Viacom around and return the company to steady profitability. This consisted of focusing on Viacom's six flagship brands: BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount; revitalizing content and talent; deepening distributor and advertiser partnerships to drive traditional revenue; increasing digital offerings, consumer products and live experiences; and optimizing and energizing the organization.[46][47][2][48][49][50] The strategy also included having Paramount Pictures develop films and franchises connected to Viacom television content; additionally, Spike TV would be rebranded as and converted to a broad-based general entertainment channel, the Paramount Network, in early 2018.[49][47][46][2][48][51]

By the fall of 2017 Bakish had restructured Viacom, replacing executives at nearly every company, including hiring Jim Gianopulos - formerly chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox, as the new chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures.[52][53]

In 2018, Bakish's implementation of his five-point comprehensive strategy was credited with Viacom's much improved finances and improved company morale and focus.[54][55] In 2018, under Bakish's direction and in accordance with his plan to capture younger and digital markets, Viacom acquired digital platform WhoSay,[56][57] internet video conference VidCon,[58][56][57] and online television network AwesomenessTV.[59] In early 2018, Bakish also announced the launch of an official Viacom streaming service, which will support ads and will include series and content from Viacom that hasn't been available on other streaming services.[60][61][62][63][64] In April 2018, Viacom launched Viacom Digital Studios, which will create new original content hosted on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.[65][66][67][68][69] In addition, later that June, Bakish announced that Viacom will produce some new series exclusively for Netflix, beginning with Nickelodeon-related content.[70][71][72][73]

In September 2018, due largely to his turnaround of Viacom, The Hollywood Reporter listed Bakish as #20 in its The Hollywood Reporter 100: The Most Powerful People in Entertainment 2018.[74]

Bakish retained the role of CEO when CBS Corporation and Viacom reunited under a single company to form Paramount Global (then known as ViacomCBS), which closed on December 4, 2019.[75]

In December 2023, Bakish and David Zaslav discussed the possibility of Paramount Global merging with Warner Bros. Discovery.[76] TD Cowen analyst, Doug Creutz, told The Hollywood Reporter: “We have a very hard time believing the current FTC/DOJ, which has been very aggressive in combating industry consolidation, would give this deal a pass.”[77]

Board memberships

Bakish has been on the board of directors of Paramount since its merger, and previously at Viacom from December 12, 2016, up until the merger.[78] He is also on the board of directors at Avid Technology, Inc.[22]

He is on the Board of Overseers at Columbia Business School,[6] and is also an active member of its Media & Technology Forum.[79] He is also on the Board of Visitors at Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science.[80]

Bakish was previously chairman of the board of Viacom 18 Media from 2007 until February 28, 2018.[81][82][83] He was also Chairman of the Cable Television Advertising Bureau from 2003 to 2005.[84][85]

Personal life

Bakish and his wife Dee live in New York and have two daughters.[7][6]


  1. ^ "ViacomCBS Chief Bob Bakish: 'We Are Hitting the Ground Running in 2020'". 17 December 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f James, Meg. "Viacom CEO Bob Bakish pushes turnaround plan for Paramount and MTV: 'I look under the hood'". Los Angeles Times. February 9, 2017.
  3. ^ Tausner, Liz. "Viacom CEO Robert Bakish '81 To Keynote Commencement". Dwight-Englewood School. June 1, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Robert M. Bakish: Dwight-Englewood School 1981 – Honored 2011". Dwight-Englewood School. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  5. ^ "Distinguished Alumni Award Honorees". Dwight-Englewood School. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "Robert Marc Bakish". Columbia Business School. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Bakish, Robert. "Address by 2013 Class Day Speaker Robert M. Bakish, Viacom International Media Networks CEO". Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science. June 3, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c CBS Corporation. "Form 10-K Annual Report". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. March 30, 1998.
  9. ^ "Exec Shuffle". Variety. October 21, 1999.
  10. ^ "Bob Bakish". Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  11. ^ Reuters. "Viacom Shuffles Operations Under New Co-President". New York Times. July 30, 2004.
  12. ^ a b "Freston Takes Charge At Viacom". Hits. July 29, 2004.
  13. ^ Reuters. "NewsLine: The Week In Brief". Billboard. August 7, 2004. p. 7.
  14. ^ Levine, Greg. "Armstrong Wins; Susan Buffett Dies; Intel's Bryant Sees Cash". Forbes. July 30, 2004.
  15. ^ Associated Press. "Update 3: Freston Shakes Up Viacom Ranks". Forbes. July 30, 2004.
  16. ^ Brandle, Lars. "Bakish Moves To MTVNI". Billboard. January 27, 2007. p. 12.
  17. ^ Banham, Mark. "MTV Networks International appoints Bakish president". Campaign. January 5, 2007.
  18. ^ a b Dawtrey, Adam. "MTV taps int'l prexy". Variety. January 8, 2007.
  19. ^ "Cable Executive Roster". Backstage. June 2, 2006.
  20. ^ Hollywood Creative Directory, Volumes 59–61. 2007. p. 229.
  21. ^ Dawtrey, Adam. "Bakish given international role at MTV". Variety. January 5, 2007.
  22. ^ a b c "Robert M. Bakish". Avid. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  23. ^ "Bakish rises at MTV Nets Int'l". The Hollywood Reporter. January 6, 2007
  24. ^ "MTV Int’l plotting second act". Variety. September 7, 2007.
  25. ^ a b c d e Szalai, Georg. "Viacom Names Bob Bakish Acting CEO". The Hollywood Reporter. October 31, 2016.
  26. ^ a b c "Viacom's Bob Bakish to speak at IGNITION". Business Insider. July 10, 2017.
  27. ^
  28. ^ a b "Robert Bakish". FT Live. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  29. ^ "Robert Bakish". Asia Pacific Pay-TV Operators Summit 2013. April 2013. p. 24.
  30. ^ Guider, Elizabeth. "Bill Roedy steps down as CEO of MTV Int'l". The Hollywood Reporter. September 23, 2010.
  31. ^ "Bill Roedy to leave MTV". Variety. September 22, 2010.
  32. ^ Dauman, Philippe. "Bill Roedy leaves Viacom". January 2011.
  33. ^ a b Szalai, Georg. "Viacom Promotes Robert Bakish to CEO of All International Networks". The Hollywood Reporter. January 19, 2011.
  34. ^ "Robert Bakish Named President & CEO of Viacom International Media Networks". Deadline Hollywood. January 19, 2011.
  35. ^ "Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2012 Speakers". Screen Daily. October 8, 2012.
  36. ^ a b c d e Bloomberg News. "Viacom's new CEO pursues turnaround with CBS out of the picture". Crain's New York Business. December 12, 2016.
  37. ^ a b c Maglio, Tony. "Viacom Names Robert Bakish Acting President, CEO". The Wrap. October 31, 2016.
  38. ^ Szalai, Georg. "Viacom to Name Bob Bakish Interim CEO". The Hollywood Reporter. October 27, 2016.
  39. ^ "Viacom unveils Play Plex mobile TV apps". DigitalTVEurope. September 8, 2015.
  40. ^ Szalai, Georg. "Viacom International Launches Direct-to-Consumer SVOD App BET Play". The Hollywood Reporter. June 22, 2016.
  41. ^ a b Lieberman, David. "Viacom Names Bob Bakish Acting CEO When Tom Dooley Steps Down". Deadline Hollywood. October 31, 2016.
  42. ^ a b James, Meg. "Viacom names Robert Bakish as acting CEO". Los Angeles Times. October 31, 2016.
  43. ^ a b Badkar, Mamta. "Viacom taps Bob Bakish for CEO". Financial Times. October 31, 2016.
  44. ^ Szalai, Georg. "Viacom Names Bob Bakish Permanent CEO". The Hollywood Reporter. December 12, 2016.
  45. ^ Steinberg, Brian. "At Viacom, Bob Bakish Enjoys Swift Rise". Variety. December 12, 2016.
  46. ^ a b Maglio, Tony. "Here’s Viacom’s New 5-Point Strategic Plan: 6 Brands, ‘Deeper Integration of Paramount’". The Wrap. February 9, 2017.
  47. ^ a b Szalai, Georg. "Viacom Unveils Focus on Flagship Brands, 'Deeper Integration' of Paramount Pictures". The Hollywood Reporter. February 9, 2017.
  48. ^ a b Lieberman, David. "Viacom CEO Vows To Make Company More Focused And Forward-Looking". Deadline Hollywood. February 9, 2017.
  49. ^ a b Littleton, Cynthia. "Viacom Sets Radical Revamp of Cable Operations, Adapting to Skinny-Bundle Era". Variety. February 9, 2017.
  50. ^
  51. ^ Steinberg, Brian. "Viacom ‘Well Along’ in Process for New Leadership at Paramount". Variety. March 7, 2017.
  52. ^ Pressberg, Matt. "Viacom CEO Bob Bakish Says Non-Sports Bundles Are Future of Pay-TV". The Wrap. September 13, 2017.
  53. ^ Bond, Paul; Szalai, Georg. "How Viacom Is Emerging From Its Reorganization". The Hollywood Reporter. October 30, 2017.
  54. ^ Littleton, Cynthia. "Viacom CEO Talks Paramount Turnaround, TV Production Growth But Stays Mum on CBS Talks". Variety. April 25, 2018.
  55. ^ Cynthia Littleton. "Viacom One Year Later: What’s Better and What Still Needs Work as Possible CBS Reunion Looms". Variety. February 6, 2018.
  56. ^ a b Bloom, David. "Viacom Courts The Youth Vote With VidCon, WHOSAY". Forbes. June 20, 2018.
  57. ^ a b Lopez, Ricardo. "Viacom Acquiring VidCon". Variety. February 5, 2018.
  58. ^ Hills, Megan C. "Viacom Has Officially Acquired VidCon, A Global Online Video Convention Series". Forbes. February 8, 2018.
  59. ^ Spangler, Todd. "Viacom Acquires AwesomenessTV; CEO Jordan Levin to Depart". Variety. July 27, 2018.
  60. ^ Vlessing, Etan. "Viacom to Launch Streaming Service Later This Year, CEO Says". The Hollywood Reporter. February 28, 2018.
  61. ^ Seitz, Dan. "Viacom, Owner Of Comedy Central And Nickelodeon, Will Launch A Streaming Service This Fall". Uproxx. February 7, 2018.
  62. ^ McDonald, Andrew. "Viacom plans direct-to-consumer streaming service". TBIVision. March 1, 2018.
  63. ^ Steinberg, Brian. "Viacom Plots Launch of Streaming Service". Variety. February 28, 2018.
  64. ^ Berman, Jeff. "Viacom CEO: Company’s New Streaming Service to ‘Complement’ Existing OTT Services". Media & Entertainment Services Alliance. February 8, 2018.
  65. ^ Ellwanger, Steve. "Viacom Digital Studios Makes Digital Content NewFronts Debut". Beet.TV. May 1, 2018.
  66. ^ Jarvey, Natalie. "Viacom Unveils Digital Studio With Series Slate, VidCon Expansion". The Hollywood Reporter. April 30, 2018.
  67. ^ Patel, Sahil. "Big media is crashing the NewFronts". Digiday. April 30, 2018.
  68. ^ Weprin, Alex. "Viacom Formally Introduces Viacom Digital Studios At NewFront". MediaPost. April 30, 2018.
  69. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn C.; Hayes, Dade. "Viacom Digital Studios Unveils Digital Slate, Including Cooking in the Crib with Snooki". Deadline Hollywood. April 30, 2018.
  70. ^ Toonkel, Jessica. "Left on Merger Sidelines, Viacom Strikes Netflix Deal". The Information. June 21, 2018.
  71. ^ Nicolaou, Anna. "Viacom strikes Nickelodeon deal with Netflix". Financial Times. September 18, 2018.
  72. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn C. "Nickelodeon To Produce Animated TV Show Pinky Malinky For Netflix". Deadline Hollywood. June 21, 2018.
  73. ^ Amidi, Amid. "As Part Of Major Strategic Shift At Viacom, Nick’s Pinky Malinky Will Debut On Netflix". Cartoon Brew. June 22, 2018.
  74. ^ "The Hollywood Reporter 100: The Most Powerful People in Entertainment 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. September 20, 2018.
  75. ^ "CBS and Viacom Reveal December Merger Date - Mark Your Calendars". November 25, 2019.
  76. ^ "Warner Bros. Discovery in talks to merge with Paramount". January 4, 2024.
  77. ^ Ashraf, Haroon (2024-01-04). "Leading UK universities begin merger talks". Toy World Mag. 360 (9341): 1232. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(02)11309-2. ISSN 0140-6736.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  78. ^ "Bakish, Robert". Reuters. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  79. ^ "Spotlight On: Media and Technology". Columbia Business School. 2017.
  80. ^ "Board of Visitors". Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  81. ^ Bhushan, Nyay. Associated Press. "Viacom 18 becomes official". The Hollywood Reporter. November 8, 2007.
  82. ^ "Viacom + Network18 = Viacom 18 Media". Afaqs. November 8, 2007.
  83. ^ "Board of Directors". Viacom 18. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  84. ^ "Senior Management". Viacom. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  85. ^ "Robert Marc Bakish". Bloomberg. Retrieved September 14, 2018.