Paramount Sets Bob Bakish Exit Terms And Interim Principal Executive

Bob Bakish Transformers

Paramount Global says Chris McCarthy is the company’s “interim principal executive officer,” a necessity required by the SEC that apparently does not signal he has more decision-making power among a trio of top executives who stepped up to replace Bob Bakish this week in a new Office of the CEO.

Security & Exchange Commission rules require a person, not an office, to conduct with over the normal course of business. It’s not clear why McCarthy, president and CEO, Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios and Paramount Media Networks, received the designation (maybe he drew the short straw).

The other two in the CEO office are George Cheeks, president and chief executive CBS, and Brian Robbins, president of Paramount Pictures and president-CEO of Nickelodeon.

The filing says that Bakish, who formally exited April 30, will continue as a senior advisor to the company through October 31 “to help ensure a seamless transition of his duties.” Until then, he’ll receive a $258k monthly salary, is entitled to a not-yet-set prorated bonus for 2024, and will continue to vest in all outstanding equity awards in accordance with their terms.

When he leaves in the fall, he’ll receive a severance package estimated at $48.5 million, according Par’s latest proxy statement. It will likely be larger after adding in equity awards for the year.

Meanwhile, in case Bakish was thinking of slacking off through October, a clause in the agreement stipulates that “During the Transition Period, the Parties acknowledge and agree that Executive’s level of services with the Company shall in no event decrease below 20% of the average level of services provided by Executive during the immediately preceding 36-month period.”

The filing caps an eventful week for Paramount with a leadership change and major questions swirling around a deal it’s been wrangling for the past month with David Ellison’s Skydance Media. An exclusive period ends at midnight tonight and there’s no word on where things stand on that, or with a new offer presented by Sony and private equity group Apollo.

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