Viacom taps Bressler

Bressler familiar with conglom's businesses

NEW YORK — Former AOL Time Warner exec Richard Bressler has been appointed chief financial officer at Viacom, effective May 1, reporting to Viacom chief operating officer Mel Karmazin.

The expected announcement follows news that Bressler, who used to be Time Warner’s CFO, was ankling his latest position in the AOL Time Warner Investment Corp.

Given Bressler’s experience and sterling credentials on Wall Street, it was no surprise he jumped in to fill the job, which became available after Viacom CFO Fred Reynolds said earlier this month that he would step down.

Reynolds, who is moving from New York to California, will run Viacom’s TV stations group, reporting to CBS CEO-prexy Leslie Moonves.

It’s the latest in a round of conglom-hopping that’s seen Seagram chief financial officer Brian Mulligan move to News Corp.’s Fox Television after Seagram’s merger with Vivendi. Last week, Seagram head of investor relations Joe Fitzgerald jumped to MGM.

From his work at Time Warner, Bressler is familiar with most of Viacom’s businesses, except radio and outdoor advertising. He also worked with Karmazin in the past as CBS and Time Warner explored a number of possible ventures in TV news and radio.

Bressler, who signed a five-year contract with Viacom, was able to extricate himself from AOL Time Warner without a noncompete clause.

“After Fred Reynolds decided he wanted to move to California, I talked to Rich. The discussions were fluid and frequent and I received a number of calls” from Wall Streeters recommending him, Karmazin said.

News of his appointment comes as speculation heats up that AOL Time Warner is preparing to launch a music network to compete with Viacom’s MTV.

“I don’t know anything about it,” Bressler said.

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