DealBreaker.com had it half right. The Wall Street blog posted a rumor Friday night that Atom Entertainment CEO Mika Salmi was about to be named head of MTV.
MTV president Christina Norman can breathe a little easier. Salmi was today named president for global digital media at MTV Networks, a super-sized role that expands on the post that Jason Hirschhorn, the company’s first (and it now seems, only) chief digital officer, quit in May.
His job, as he tells the New York Post, is to coordinate the strategy for MTVN’s diverse networks and "get everyone moving in the right direction." He won’t be involved with content creation or brand strategy, but in creating overarching synergies between the sites.
MTVN bought Salmi’s digital entertainment company, which launched as AtomFilms and morphed into AtomShockwave before rebranding as Atom Entertainment, in August. Salmi now reports to MTVN chairman and CEO Judy McGrath in a new role that should appease Viacom executive chairman Sumner Redstone.
Redstone has claimed that former Viacom CEO Tom Freston was fired in September because Wall Street was punishing the company for lacking digital savvy. The cranky billionaire cited Freston’s failure to buy the teen-luring MySpace.com (which News Corp. purchased in July 2005) as proof that the company was something of an e-Luddite.
But as Redstone says in the December issue of Vanity Fair, Freston’s days were numbered after he initially passed on another plum: the company’s top CEO position. "That’s really when my doubts about Tom began," he tells the magazine.
Another MTVN CDO title-holder was replaced with a "global" title-holder last month. One year after naming Billy Dexter its first chief diversity officer last October, Dexter stepped down and Nickelodeon’s Marva Smalls was promoted to a new position: EVP of global inclusion strategy.