Raffaele Annecchino is replacing David Lynn as president and CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI), effective immediately. Lynn has been with ViacomCBS for 24 years; Annecchino has been with VCNI for 23 years.
No reason for Lynn’s departure was provided. A person with knowledge of the decision said it was one that Lynn had been mulling with family for a while now.
In January, VCNI was restructured into two brand groups and three regional hubs, all overseen by Lynn.
Like seemingly all major media companies this year, ViacomCBS has recently undergone layoffs.
ViacomCBS restructured its streaming businesses in October, when Pierluigi Gazzolo stepped down from his position as president of VCNI streaming and studios and JC Acosta was named president of ViacomCBS International Studios. Marc DeBevoise, the ViacomCBS chief digital officer and president and CEO of ViacomCBS Digital, also left at the time.
ViacomCBS’ CBS All Access is being expanded and rebranded as Paramount+ in early 2021. In the fall shakeup, Kelly Day was named president of streaming for VCNI. Pluto TV CEO Tom Ryan took on the role of president and CEO, ViacomCBS Streaming. He’ll oversee All Access/Paramount+ as well as Pluto TV.
Most recently, Annecchino was president of ViacomCBS Networks Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEAA).
As president and chief executive officer of VCNI, Annecchino will oversee all of ViacomCBS’s media networks and related businesses outside the U.S., according to the ViacomCBS International job description. He’ll be responsible for a portfolio of pay-TV entertainment brands and broadcast networks across six continents – including Channel 5 in the UK, Telefe in Argentina, Network 10 in Australia and Colors in India through a joint venture with Viacom18 – and work closely with ViacomCBS’s global streaming organization to help guide the continued international rollout of Pluto TV and the launch of Paramount+ in 2021.
“Raffaele is an entrepreneurial, results-oriented leader with a proven ability to transform businesses and drive growth across diverse markets,” ViacomCBS President and CEO Bob Bakish, to whom Annecchino will report, said in a statement provided to media on Thursday. “In recent years, Raffaele has taken on increased responsibility, demonstrating strategic and operational expertise that extends across a wide variety of geographies and platforms. His experience in expanding ViacomCBS’s international footprint, forging key partnerships and accelerating our push into mobile and digital platforms will be critical to building on our leadership positions across Europe, Latin America and Asia and realizing our global ambitions.”
“I want to extend my deepest thanks to David for his many contributions over the past two decades, from integrating the international portfolios of CBS and Viacom to overseeing the launch of Viacom International Studios, including the acquisition of Ananey and repositioning the division to enable the continued expansion of our global streaming offerings,” Bakish continued. “I’m grateful for his dedication and leadership and wish him the best as he starts this next chapter.”
“It’s an honor to step into this role and help continue ViacomCBS’s strong momentum around the world,” Annecchino said as part of the same press release. “We have an exciting opportunity to broaden the company’s reach through new, innovative distribution channels and partnerships, and I look forward to working with Bob and the rest of the team to execute against our growth initiatives.”
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to spend the greatest part of my career at ViacomCBS,” Lynn said. “From my early days at Comedy Central and Nickelodeon to more recently managing teams across our global portfolio, I’ve benefitted from working with the most dynamic, talented team in the industry – who in this most challenging year succeeded in transforming the business for the next important phase of growth.”