Viacom Assigns New Roles to PR Chiefs

Robinson Named MTV Networks Chief of Staff While Folta Gets Corporate Role

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Viacom has overhauled its communications strategy today, shifting former Viacom corporate public relations chief Carole Robinson to a strategy role at MTV Networks and moving Carl Folta, Chairman Sumner Redstone's right-hand communications man, into the top job at Viacom corporate PR.
Carole Robinson is leaving the corporate suite for a strategy roll at MTV Networks.
Carole Robinson is leaving the corporate suite for a strategy roll at MTV Networks.

Mr. Folta, exec VP-corporate communications, will report directly to Thomas Dooley, Viacom's senior exec VP-chief administrative officer. Ms. Robinson, who is exec VP-chief of staff, will report to Judy McGrath, CEO of MTV Networks.

Long relationship with new CEO
Mr. Folta, a longtime veteran of the company, has a long relationship with Mr. Dooley and new Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, who had management roles at Viacom throughout the 1990s. The move is interesting in the wake of Tom Freston's departure from the Viacom CEO post. Mr. Redstone replaced Mr. Freston with Mr. Dauman in September; one of the reasons he cited was a communications problem, which irked many inside Viacom and MTV Networks but clearly prompted Mr. Redstone to put longtime confidant Mr. Folta in the top Viacom PR post.

Mr. Dauman, in the release announcing Mr. Folta's new role, called him a "consummate communications professional who understands the strategic and financial complexities of our businesses and the industry," and said he was pleased he would be able to continue to work with Ms. Robinson in her new role at MTV Networks.

While Ms. Robinson may be returning from corporate to one of Viacom's divisions, her role is an expanded one. In addition to oversight of communications strategy for MTV Networks, a post she held prior to being kicked upstairs last year at the time of the Viacom-CBS Corp. split, she will also oversee marketing and research. Reporting to Ms. Robinson will be MTVN research chief Colleen Fahey Rusch, marketing chief Leslie Leventman and communications head Lauren Hurvitz.

Official recognition
Ms. McGrath in the announcement of Ms. Robinson's promotion, said the role would "formally recognize" Ms. Robinson's contributions to the company, which span 20 years.

Ms. Robinson becomes part of Ms. McGrath's strategy team, which also includes head of ad sales Hank Close; newly appointed digital chief Mika Salmi; affiliate sales and marketing head Nicole Browning; President-Chief Operating Officer Michael Wolf; international head Bill Roedy; and the head of global inclusion, MTV's term for diversity, Marva Smalls.
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