Paramount CEO Bob Bakish May Depart Next Week

Paramount faces pivotal changes amid potential leadership upheaval

by Zain ul Abedin
Paramount CEO Bob Bakish May Depart Next Week
© Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Paramount, a titan in the media industry, is on the brink of announcing a major shakeup at its highest level. Bob Bakish, the CEO, is reportedly set to leave the company as early as next week. Three informed sources, who spoke anonymously due to the situation's sensitivity, confirmed this news.

The departure of Mr. Bakish is believed to be driven by a deteriorating relationship with Shari Redstone, Paramount's controlling shareholder. Insiders suggest Ms. Redstone has become increasingly dissatisfied with Mr. Bakish's performance, particularly his failure to finalize crucial deals.

Notably, his inability to sell the Showtime and BET cable channels has been a significant point of contention. As these internal struggles unfold, Paramount is simultaneously negotiating for a potential merger with Skydance Media.

Skydance, led by tech heir and Hollywood producer David Ellison, could bring a fresh dynamic to Paramount if the deal proceeds. Additionally, Paramount is negotiating to maintain the broadcast of popular channels like Nickelodeon and MTV on Charter’s cable system, which could have significant financial implications.

Merger Complications Mount

The situation is further complicated because Paramount’s special committee, responsible for evaluating the merger, has yet to approve the deal. This committee’s decision is crucial, especially as National Amusements, under Ms.

Redstone's control, has already endorsed the potential merger. Apollo Global Management's interest in an alternative all-cash bid adds another layer to this intricate scenario. The company is considering a partnership with Sony.

This proposal has stirred some resistance among shareholders, highlighting the diverse interests. Paramount has remained tight-lipped, declining to comment on these developments. However, these reports follow earlier indications from sources like The Wall Street Journal, which suggested that Paramount’s board contemplated a leadership change.

The industry watches closely as the 30-day exclusive negotiation period with Skydance ends in early May. The outcome of these talks could reshape Paramount’s strategy and leadership, marking a pivotal moment in the company’s storied history.