Kane Named CEO of Viacom Stations

Sep 19, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Tom Kane was named president and CEO of the Viacom Television Stations Group last Friday afternoon.

The move ended weeks of speculation about who would succeed Fred Reynolds as chief executive of the group that includes 21 CBS, 16 UPN, one WB and two unaffiliated stations.

Mr. Kane was president and general manager of ABC flagship WABC-TV in New York for seven years before joining the Viacom stations group as president of spot sales in 2003. In October 2004 he assumed responsibility for all sales for the TV group.

The choice of the well-known Mr. Kane, who is widely liked inside the station group, may prevent the exit of executives who had been discomfited by the possibility that an outsider might succeed Mr. Reynolds. Former chief of Fox-owned stations and DirecTV Mitch Stern had been mentioned often as a candidate. Mr. Reynolds joined Evercore Partners, a financial advisory firm, in July, only to return a short time later as executive VP and chief financial officer of the new CBS Corp.

Dennis Swanson, executive VP and chief operating officer of the Viacom station group, continues in that role, according to the announcement by Leslie Moonves, the co-president and co-CEO of Viacom who will become CEO of the new CBS Corp. when Viacom and CBS split into publicly traded companies.

Anton Guitano and Peter Dunn also continue as senior VP and CFO, and president of spot sales, respectively, for the stations group.

“Tom Kane is a consummate professional whose experience in local television, both as a general manager and in sales, has benefited us greatly since he joined our group two years ago,” Mr. Moonves said in the announcement. “He is a first-class operator and executive, and I’m confident he has what it takes to continue the momentum our stations have achieved under Fred’s leadership. The positive growth at CBS and UPN continues to provide great advantages for us at the local level, and I’m counting on Tom to seize those opportunities to improve our positions in all the markets where we compete.”

While Mr. Kane’s appointment was not directly related to the upcoming split of Viacom into two companies, CBS Corp. and Viacom, it was among a handful of executive announcements Viacom made last week in advance of the separation.

Marty Franks, executive VP for CBS Television, was named executive VP of planning, policy and government relations for CBS Corp. In addition, Gail MacKinnon, Viacom’s VP for government relations, was named senior VP, Washington, for CBS Corp. She will be joined by Anne Lucey, VP of regulatory affairs for Viacom, who has been named senior VP of regulatory affairs for CBS Corp.

Human resources policies and programs will be headed by Anthony Ambrosio at CBS and JoAnne Adams Griffith at Viacom. They have been promoted to executive VPs of human resources and administration at their respective companies.

Doug Halonen contributed to this report.