ViacomCBS unveils global restructure, with new role for Maria Kyriacou

Maria Kyriacou

ViacomCBS has restructured its international networks leadership team, with new roles for senior execs including former ITV Studios International boss Maria Kyriacou.

The newly merged company has broken its ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) group into two brand divisions and three pan-regional management hubs, reporting to David Lynn, president and CEO of (VCNI).

New roles & departures

The rejig, intended “to drive new growth opportunities across brands in key international markets”, sees Kyriacou becoming president of ViacomCBS Networks UK and Australia.

This includes responsibility for Ireland, New Zealand and Israel, with particular focus on the operations of free-to-air networks Channel 5 and Network 10, in the UK and Australia respectively.

Kyriacou was previously appointed to be president for Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) UK, Northern and Eastern Europe late last year, replacing James Currell, who departed the business in June. Her remit then included oversight of all media networks and related businesses in 33 countries across the region, as well as Channel 5 in the UK.

Paul Anderson

Elsewhere, Paul Anderson will become EVP of ViacomCBS Networks Australia and New Zealand, adding responsibility for pay TV channels in the region including MTV and Comedy Central. He was previously CEO at Network 10, acquired by CBS in 2017. Ben Richardson, who had worked for Viacom as general manager of its networks in the region, now reports into Anderson in a new role that encompasses pay TV and business development for Network 10.

Raffaele Annecchino, previously president of the division’s operations across Southern and Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will take on an expanded role in the new structure as president of ViacomCBS Networks Europe, Middle East, Africa & Asia (EMEAA).

The third pan-regional leader will be JC Acosta as president of ViacomCBS Networks Americas.

One outgoing that comes as a part of the reshuffle is Mark Whitehead, president and managing director of VCNI Asia Pacific, who will leave the company at the end of the month. Lynn expressed his thanks for Whitehead’s contribution to the company’s success and said that he leaves the division “excellently positioned.”

Brand leaders

On the brand front, Kerry Taylor, currently EVP of MTV International and chief marketing officer for VCNI UK, has been promoted to EVP of VCNI entertainment and youth brands. She will report to Chris McCarthy, president of entertainment and youth brands, ViacomCBS domestic media networks, along with Lynn. She will oversee the international operations of MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Network and BET.

David Lynn

Jules Borkent has been promoted to EVP, VCNI kids and family, reporting to Lynn and Brian Robbins, president of kids and family entertainment at ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks. Borkent has been with Nickelodeon since 2001, while Taylor has been with MTV International since 2007.

Lynn said that “consolidating our international flagship brands into two groups will simplify our structure and more closely align our business with ViacomCBS’ US brands, enabling us to share more content and resources across our different brands and extract maximum value from our content investment and libraries.”

Of their appointments, the ViacomCBS exec added: “Kerry brings equal parts marketing acumen and a genuine connection to the global youth zeitgeist that has driven MTV’s successful international franchise strategy and ratings success. Jules is a respected industry voice, who’s dedicated to bringing unique and diverse content to Nickelodeon audiences around the world.”

Borkent and Acosta step into the shoes of Pierluigi Gazzolo, now president of studios and OTT for ViacomCBS Networks International. He was president of VCNI Americas and EVP of Nickelodeon International.

Lynn said: “With Maria joining and with newly expanded roles for Raffaele, JC, Pier, Kerry and Jules, we have an exceptional leadership team in place and a simplified structure that allows us to be more tightly focused on seeking out the most attractive opportunities to license our brands, content and IP in the highest value and fastest growing international markets, with a particular focus on accelerating our streaming strategy.”

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