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Paramount chief Grey exiting ahead of network launch

Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Brad Grey is stepping down after twelve years with Viacom.

Brad GreyFor TV execs, the news comes ahead of the establishment of the Paramount Network, which Viacom president and CEO Bob Bakish has placed at the centre of his plans to turn around the giant media business.

Paramount Television and Digital Entertainment president Amy Powell will form part of an interim leadership that will helm movie studio Paramount while a long-term successor to Grey is found.

Others on the team include Paramount Motion Picture Group president Marc Evans, Paramount COO Andrew Gumpert, worldwide distribution and marketing chief Megan Colligan, and CFO Mark Badagliacca. Bakish will work closely with these execs “to maintain momentum until a new CEO is appointed”.

Before joining Paramount, Grey co-founded Hollywood agency and TV production company Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, which coproduced HBO mob drama The Sopranos and Just Shoot Me for NBC among others. After buying out Bernie Brillstein, the firm became known as Brad Grey Television.

Then at Paramount, he oversaw big-ticket films such as Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Shutter Island, Up in the Air and There Will Be Blood.

“Brad has overseen the production and distribution of some of Paramount’s most celebrated hits, and more recently championed the successful relaunch of the studio’s television division,” said Bakish. “We are grateful for his twelve years of extraordinary service and wish him every continued success.”

“It has been my privilege to be a part of Paramount’s storied history, and I am grateful to [Viacom majority shareholder] Sumner Redstone for giving me this opportunity,” said Grey. “I want to wish Shari [Redstone, Viacom deputy chairman], Bob and their entire team the best as they embark on Viacom’s next chapter.”

Grey’s departure comes after Philippe Dauman left his role as CEO and executive chairman of Viacom last year, following a bitter board and courtroom dispute with the Redstones and other shareholders over the future of the company, during which period ratings were down, movies underperformed and the share price tanked.

While new boss Bakish as placed organic renewal of Paramount at the core of his transformation strategy, Dauman had planned to sell a 49% stake in the venerable studio to Chinese investor Dalian Wanda, whose US$1 billion takeover of Dick Clark Productions was this month reported to have collapsed.