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Viacom Names Bob Bakish as Permanent CEO as CBS Merger Evaporates

Bakish has served as interim CEO since November

Viacom announced on Monday that Bob Bakish will stay on as the permanent president CEO of the media conglomerate.

“I am very excited by the strategy Viacom is pursuing under Bob’s leadership, as well as the relentless hard work and passion he has demonstrated not only in his fast start at the helm but in his many years at the company,” Viacom board vice chairperson Shari Redstone said. “While there is much work to do, I firmly believe that Viacom has a bright future, and that confidence is underpinned by senior management’s commitment to innovation and a more coordinated, global approach to managing our brands.”

Bakish took over the position on an interim basis in November. He has held leadership positions throughout the organization since joining in 1997, most recently serving as president and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks prior to his acting CEO role.

The news comes after Viacom stock dropped 5 percent in pre-market trading Monday on news that the boards of CBS and Viacom had suspended merger talks.

National Amusements Inc., majority owner of both companies, announced the move — a reversal from a request to the two media conglomerates’ boards in September to explore “a potential combination.”

The company’s stock price has halved since its height two years ago in the midst of troubled performance by cable networks like MTV and Comedy Central, as well as the Paramount movie studio. While Viacom stock took a hit in pre-market trading — dropping to $36.52 per share — CBS stock remained flat at $62.56.