In its first move since declaring its intentions to buy CBS for $5.4 billion, Westinghouse Electric Corp. on Thursday named the transition management team that will lead the merging of the two companies.
On the network side, CBS/Broadcast Group president Peter Lund and CBS Entertainment prexy Leslie Moonves are the highest-ranking Eye web execs named to the tem. Representing Westinghouse is chairman and CEO Michael Jordan; Group W chairman Bill Korn; senior VP and general counsel Louis Briskman; chief financial officer Fredric Reynolds; and corporate human resources senior VP David Zemelman.
Industry observers have been wondering just what Westinghouse’s plans are for the Eye web, and the addition of Lund and Moonves to the Westinghouse team may help calm nerves at Black Rock – particularly as most of Jordan’s pronouncements have dealt with cutting costs and have made scant mention of existing CBS management.
Jordan said one of the reasons for the team is continuity in both groups “so that each can continue its strategic initiatives during this transitional period.”
Rounding out CBS’ contribution to the team are exec VP-chief counsel Ellen Kaden, exec VP of finance Peter Keegan and senior VP, human resources, Joan Showalter.
Jordan said the transition team will “assure that the new, merged organization is ready to compete aggressively immediately upon completion of the acquisition,” adding that the group will spend the next few months working out “how the companies best fit together so that each can contribute its complementary strengths and resources.”
Still, details are not forthcoming yet as to the company’s plans, and Wall Street analysts still are speculating about rival bids, although none have emerged. Jordan said he expects the deal to close late this year or early next year. Westinghouse also may have to sell off one of the CBS-owned TV stations to get regulatory approval, the company said. CBS owns WPRI Providence, R.I., and that station’s signal overlaps with Group W’s WBZ Boston.