Bob Bakish, Viacom

Facing the vast challenge of righting the sails on one of the media industry’s largest behemoths, Viacom’s new chief is moving swiftly and steadily out of the gate. Bakish in January solidified a three-year contract to lead Viacom, with an annual compensation package valued at close to $20 million plus additional equity awards. And he’s wasted no time outlining a plan to cut loose the liabilities and generate even more heat around the power points. He’s focusing on six core flagship brands—BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount—and on forging closer ties among the conglomerate’s complementary sister companies. Among finer points, niche network Spike soon will segue to the Paramount Network, closer ties are blooming between Paramount Pictures and other Viacom distribution pipes, and brand execs have a new mandate to hold on to. Reaction so far from Wall Street has been favorable, and 2017 promises to be a pivotal year.

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