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Brad Grey is stepping down as chairman and chief executive of Paramount Pictures after 12 years at the helm of the movie studio owned by Viacom. He will be replaced by a committee of executives until a replacement is found, the company said on Wednesday.
His departure comes as Viacom’s chief executive Bob Bakish overhauls the media company in a bid to reverse years of shrinking audiences and advertising sales that have sapped its profits and share price.
Paramount has suffered from a string of recent box-office flops and losses, including 2016′s Ben Hur and Zoolander 2. The studio posted an $180m operating loss in the final three months of 2016, which Mr Bakish described as a “significant disappointment”.
Mr Bakish thanked Mr Grey for his “extraordinary service” and wished him continued success. “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,” he said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Viacom, which owns cable channels Nickelodeon and MTV, announced plans to focus its efforts and investment on a slimmed-down roster of six flagship brands. The new strategy comes two months after Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari, Viacom’s controlling shareholders, scrapped plans for a merger with CBS, the other big US media company they control.
The turnaround plan includes establishing theatrical partnerships between Viacom’s cable channels and Paramount as well as rebranding one of its TV channels as The Paramount Network.
“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,” Mr Bakish said on Wednesday.