Thursday, June 16, 2022

Paramount International CEO Raffaele Annecchino Abruptly Put on Company Leave

Raffaele Annecchino, president of Paramount International Studios, Networks and Streaming has been put “on leave” from the company “effective immediately.”

A terse internal Paramount memo obtained by Variety also says that JC Acosta, President, International Studios, Streaming and Networks for Southern Europe, Latin America, Middle East and Africa; Maria Kyriacou, President, Australia, Canada, Israel and U.K.; and Mark Specht, Executive Vice President (EVP) and Managing Director (MD), Central and Northern Europe and Asia, “will be stepping in as interim heads to lead the international business.”

Representatives for Paramount Global did not immediately respond to Variety or TheWrap’s request for comment.

As he rose through the ranks at what is now Paramount, Annecchino is known to have had a close rapport with Paramount Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bob Bakish, but it appears that this rapport has suddenly gone sour.

Annecchino had been leading the expansion of Paramount+ which, in a recent coup, is set to be the home for streamed cricket games of the Indian Premier League as the streamer expands to India in 2023, in what amounts to a blow to Disney+ in the region.

During a long stint at what is now Paramount Annecchino had been appointed president and CEO of what was then ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) in December 2020, overseeing media networks and related businesses outside the U.S., including both overseas pay-TV channels and broadcast networks. These include Channel 5 in the U.K., Telefe in Argentina, and Network Ten in Australia.

ViacomCBS rebranded to become Paramount Global in February as part of its ongoing effort to become a major global streaming player. By the end of 2022, Paramount+ and SkyShowtime, its premium streaming venture with Comcast, aim to launch in more than 60 markets.

Annecchino had previously served as president of ViacomCBS Networks Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, during which time he oversaw the launch and acquisition of free-to-air channels in the key markets of Italy, Spain and Germany, and the creation of a new business unit to help drive ViacomCBS’s digital businesses as well as the expansion of Paramount’s free streaming service Pluto TV which is now available in more than 30 countries and territories. Before that Annecchino held positions at Turner International, Cartoon Network and CNN.

Originally published: June 16, 2022.

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