You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Paramount’s Brad Grey Sends His Exit Memo As Viacom Makes It Official

Deadline logo Deadline 2/22/2017 Patrick Hipes
© Provided by Deadline

Paramount’s chairman and CEO Brad Grey has made official what’s been known for a while: He’s leaving the studio after 12 years. He’s just sent a memo to his staff, the day after hosting an intimate party at his home for Paramount Pictures execs who are staying put and other longtime industry allies. Grey wrote that he is handing over most of his duties effective today but is staying “engaged” over the next weeks to “support a smooth transition.” (Read his full memo below.)

The memo’s release came at the same time Viacom officially announced Grey’s exit atop the Melrose Ave studio. As Deadline reported, he gives way to a transition committee that includes Marc Evans (President, Motion Picture Group), Andrew Gumpert (Chief Operating Officer), Amy Powell (President, Paramount Television and Digital Entertainment), Megan Colligan (President, Worldwide Distribution and Marketing) and Mark Badagliacca (Chief Financial Officer).

“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. We are grateful for his 12 years of extraordinary service and wish him every continued success,” said Viacom CEO Bob Bakish in today’s press release (read it in full below). “Paramount has produced some of the most recognizable and cherished films in Hollywood, making it a key part of Viacom’s history, and our future. As we look ahead, I couldn’t be more excited by our early plans to re-energize the slate, more deeply integrate the studio and networks, and make the most of our incredible assets.”

Viacom also said Grey is staying on to support the transition as “the company is commencing a comprehensive search to identify a successor.” That search will be the talk of the Oscar parties this weekend as the industry masses in Hollywood. “They’re calling us all,” one of the usual suspects-type of big execs recently said about whom Bakish will be dining with very soon — if not already.

That list is sure to include Jim Gianopulos, who has been the top name for major jobs including the vacancy created when Michael Lynton announced he would step dow at Sony in a few months. Others who might be considered include Mary Parent, the former MGM chairman who was brought in by former Legendary principal Thomas Tull before he was removed after selling to Wanda, and Michael De Luca, who with Jennifer Todd is currently producing the 89th Academy Awards.

Another would be Rob Friedman, the former Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chairman who knows Paramount well from his previous run there as vice chairman.

Bakish has been a proponent of creating synergy between the studio and its branded networks since he took the CEO reins from Philippe Dauman during the winter. Past attempts to do that, when brands like Nickelodeon and MTV were stronger, never came to much in a consistent way, so it is unclear whether this would be as effective as, say, the launch of a dedicated family film division that Grey named as a priority in an interview with Deadline last fall. Studios like Universal with Illumination and Disney with Pixar and the Disney animation brand, have been minting money with animated films during the summer and holiday months.

Paramount is likely Bakish’s toughest of the Viacom reclamation projects. The studio lost $445 million in the fiscal year that ended in September and despite a couple of Oscar Best Picture nominees in Fences and Arrival has consistently struggled in the Hollywood movie market share standings.

Here’s Grey’s memo, followed by Viacom’s news release:

I am writing to let you know that I am leaving Paramount. I will hand over most of my duties effective today, but will remain engaged in the coming weeks to support a smooth transition.

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

From the moment I came to Paramount in 2005, I saw myself as a steward of an iconic institution. I never could have dreamed that privilege would last more than 12 years.

In that time, it has been my honor to work with a group of wildly talented storytellers. The core of our successes has always been their unique ability to entertain and inspire people around the world.

Above all, I am indebted to all of you, the wonderful people here at Paramount. Your creativity, professionalism and integrity are second to none. I am grateful to everyone who helped me along the way and I look forward to new adventures.

Thank you.

Best,

Brad

Viacom’s announcement:

Viacom Inc. today announced that Brad Grey will step down from his role as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Pictures. The company is commencing a comprehensive search to identify a successor, and Grey will remain at Paramount for a period to support the transition.

Bob Bakish, President and Chief Executive Officer of Viacom, will work closely with Paramount’s leadership team, including Marc Evans (President, Motion Picture Group); Andrew Gumpert (Chief Operating Officer); Amy Powell (President, Paramount Television and Digital Entertainment); Megan Colligan (President, Worldwide Distribution and Marketing) and Mark Badagliacca (Chief Financial Officer), to maintain momentum until a new CEO is appointed.

“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. We are grateful for his 12 years of extraordinary service and wish him every continued success,” said Bob Bakish. “Paramount has produced some of the most recognizable and cherished films in Hollywood, making it a key part of Viacom’s history, and our future. As we look ahead, I couldn’t be more excited by our early plans to reenergize the slate, more deeply integrate the studio and networks, and make the most of our incredible assets.”

“It has been my privilege to be a part of Paramount’s storied history, and I am grateful to Sumner Redstone for giving me this opportunity. I want to wish Shari, Bob and their entire team the best as they embark on Viacom’s next chapter,” said Brad Grey. “From the moment I came to Paramount in 2005, I saw myself as a steward of an iconic institution. In that time, it has been my great honor to work with a group of wildly talented storytellers. But above all, I am indebted to the wonderful people at this studio, whose creativity, professionalism and integrity are second to none.”

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Deadline

AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon