ViacomCBS is streamlining the structure of its international networks unit, in a move aimed at leveraging the company’s expanded most-merger operations “to drive new growth opportunities across brands in key international markets.”
The new structure of ViacomCBS Networks International (formerly Viacom International Media Networks) consists of two brand groups and three pan-regional management hubs, all reporting to the unit’s President and CEO, David Lynn.
“Consolidating our international flagship brands into two groups will simplify our structure and more closely align our business with ViacomCBS’s U.S. brands, enabling us to share more content and resources across our different brands and extract maximum value from our content investment and libraries,” Lynn stated in announcing the changes.
Mark Whitehead, president and managing director of Asia Pacific, will leave the company at the end of January. Lynn praised Whitehead for leading a transformation of the company’s Asian operations that has resulted in record annual growth.
The new brand-group leaders are Kerry Taylor and Jules Borkent.
Taylor, currently EVP of MTV International and CMO for VCNI UK, has been promoted to EVP of VCNI Entertainment & Youth Brands. She reports to Lynn and Chris McCarthy, president of Entertainment & Youth Brands, ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks.
Taylor — who has been with MTV International since 2007 and has been co-head of MTV International since 2012 — will now have international oversight of MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Network and BET.
She is credited with reinventing MTV’s international brand positioning, developing a successful global franchise strategy, and commissioning content that drove international ratings successes such as “Geordie Shore,” “The Charlotte Show,” “Ex on The Beach” and “Just Tattoo of Us.”
Taylor will continue to work with Bruce Gillmer, EVP music and talent programming/events ViacomCBS. Jill Offman, who previously led Comedy Central and Paramount Network internationally, will head up the international studio business, as EVP of ViacomCBS International Studios UK.
Borkent has been promoted to EVP, VCNI Kids & Family, reporting to Lynn and Brian Robbins, president of Kids & Family Entertainment, ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks.
With Nickelodeon since 2001, he has been leading channel operations and content strategy, including programming, acquisitions, originals and digital, for Nickelodeon International. That unit has shown continued growth during his tenure, according to the company.
Borkent is credited with working with Nickelodeon US to create an international programming council, as well as managing the multimillion-dollar content investment across kids and family programming.
The pan-regional hubs will be led by Maria Kyriacou, Raffaele Annecchino and JC Acosta.
Kyriacou, most recently president of international for ITV Studios, will join the newly expanded division on February 3 as president of ViacomCBS Networks UK and Australia, which includes responsibility for Ireland, New Zealand and Israel.
As head of ViacomCBS’s two most valuable international markets, including free-to-air broadcast networks Channel 5 and Network 10, Kyriacou will “seek content and commercial synergies between the company’s portfolio of networks and streaming services” across the two English-language regions.
Paul Anderson, CEO of Network 10, additionally becomes EVP, ViacomCBS Networks Australia and New Zealand, reporting to Kyriacou.
Annecchino, currently president of the division’s operations across Southern and Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa, becomes president, ViacomCBS Networks Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEAA). He adds responsibility for the company’s operations in Northern and Eastern Europe and key Asian markets.
Annecchino is charged with accelerating growth in European markets through closer alignment of operations across the continent and increasing scale in the EMEAA operations, while continuing responsibility for VCNI’ mobile strategy.
Acosta, now president, ViacomCBS Networks Americas, oversees operations in the key markets of Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, and all of Latin America, as well as in Canada and for the U.S. Hispanic market.
Acosta is charged with further expanding ViacomCBS’s networks portfolio, streaming services and associated businesses across the region, including its studios business in the Americas, Argentinian free-to-air broadcast market leader Telefe, and digital services including Porta Dos Fundos.
Borkent and Acosta succeed Pierluigi Gazzolo. Gazzolo, who was promoted to president of studios and OTT for VCNI as of January 1, was previously president, VCNI Americas and EVP Nickelodeon International.