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Viacom retains Bakish as CEO

Bob Bakish, who has led Viacom Inc. as acting president and CEO since Nov. 15, will retain his role as head of the company.

In a Dec. 12 press release, the company said that Bakish had been appointed president, CEO and director of Viacom, effective immediately. The former president and CEO of Viacom International Media Networks rose to lead the parent company after Tom Dooley stepped down as interim president and CEO following the ouster of longtime Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman earlier this year.

Dauman exited the company after a bitter legal battle with Viacom Chairman Emeritus Sumner Redstone and his daughter, Vice Chair Shari Redstone, over control and management of the company.

"I am very excited by the strategy Viacom is pursuing under Bob's leadership, as well as the relentless hard work and passion he has demonstrated not only in his fast start at the helm but in his many years at the company," Shari Redstone said in a statement on Bakish's appointment.

Bakish said at a recent investor conference that he is focused on turning around Viacom's struggling assets, including cable networks, MTV and Comedy Central, and studio Paramount Pictures.

Viacom also confirmed earlier reports that it had discontinued discussions about a potential merger with CBS Corp.

National Amusements Inc., the private holding company controlled by the Redstone family, earlier sent letters to the boards of Viacom and CBS stating that it no longer supported a merger.

"Over the past few months, after careful assessment and meetings with the leadership of both companies, we have concluded that this is not the right time to merge the companies," the letter said.

Viacom on Dec. 12 said it had dissolved the special committee formed to explore the transaction.