It looks like CBS CEO Joe Ianniello will be offered a role overseeing CBS’s networks if the company does merge with Viacom, according to The Wall Street Journal. It reported the two companies, each controlled by Shari Redstone, have reached a “working agreement” on the management that would run the combined company if they merge.
As expected, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish will run the company, the story said But the news about Mr. Ianniello is significant. Questions have been swirling about whether Mr. Ianniello, who is acting CEO of CBS, would stay on after a merger with Viacom. And some wondered if Mr. Ianniello would be offered a role given his close relationship with former CBS CEO Les Moonves, who had battled with Ms. Redstone over control of the company before leaving amidst allegations of sexual misconduct.
Mergers are hard and it makes sense for Viacom to keep Mr. Ianniello on board to help smooth the waters culturally and operationally if the two companies come together. But also, CBS has some tough negotiations ahead with the NFL in the next few months, and Mr. Ianiello will be key in helping oversee those discussions. Now the two companies just have to agree on price.