MELROSE—On Monday, March 27, Viacom, Inc. named Jim Gianopulos, 65, the new chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. The announcement from Viacom Chief Executive Bob Bakish came nearly one month after Paramount’s former chairman, Brad Grey, left his position due to financial decline. Gianopulos will step into his new position at the Melrose studio and report directly to Bakish starting Monday, April 3.
“Jim is a remarkably talented executive with all the tools—strategic vision, strong business expertise, deep industry and creative relationships—to bring films to life that resonate throughout culture and deliver commercial results,” Bakish said in a statement. “I’m thrilled we will have the benefit of his experience, savvy and global expertise as we lay out a clear path forward and begin the next chapter in Paramount’s storied history.”
Gianopulos has more than three decades of experience in the film industry. He began his career as an attorney of entertainment law, before going on to work at Paramount, Lorimar, and Columbia Pictures. He was the chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment for 16 years, until former DreamWorks executive Stacey Snider was named his successor in June 2016. During his time at Fox, the studio produced hit films such as “X-Men,” “Avatar,” “Life of Pi,” “Deadpool,” and “12 Years a Slave.”
In recent years, Paramount has ranked last among the major studios at the box office. Projects such as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Rings” resulted in flops. In 2016, the studio lost $445 million.
Gianopulos will oversee Paramount’s global film and television operations, including production, marketing, and distribution. He will be responsible for implementing strategies to boost the studio’s film production operation and to forge stronger relationships with top producers and filmmakers in the community. He has also been directed to work with networks such as Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central, and MTV to strengthen Paramount’s film slate.
“Paramount is one of Hollywood’s truly iconic studios, and the role it has played in shaping the entertainment industry cannot be overstated,” Gianopulos said in a statement. “Looking ahead, I see a strong opportunity to position the studio for success by creating valuable franchise opportunities, developing fresh creative ventures, and mining Viacom’s deep brand portfolio to bring exciting new narratives to life.”
Before Gianopulos was appointed as the chairman and CEO at Paramount, he was considered as a CEO candidate for Sony Pictures. He was also in negotiations with China’s Dalian Wanda Group to run Legendary Entertainment.
Gianopulos serves as Chairman on the Board of Directors of the Motion Picture & Television Fund and Treasurer of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. He is on the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Mellon University and the American Film Institute, as well as the USC School Of Cinematic Arts Board of Councilors.