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Viacom ups Wade Davis to CFO

Company vet has guided key deals for the conglom

Wade Davis, Viacom’s exec VP for strategy and corporate development, has been upped to chief financial officer.

The exec, a former investment banker, helped create Epix and oversaw the acquisition of DreamWorks SKG, replaces James Barge, who is ankling to pursue other opportunities. Move comes at an unusual time for Viacom as questions of succession loom and deal speculation abounds, although the company is mostly focused on turning around ratings at Nickelodeon and shoring up MTV.

Viacom chief operating officer Tom Dooley said Tuesday that “Davis is respected throughout the company for his knowledge of our industry and his financial expertise. Wade has worked closely with me and with Viacom’s entire senior team on important strategic initiatives, while also leading a disciplined corporate development program that has enabled us to tap new growth areas, both domestically and around the world.”

Davis, who joined Viacom in 2005 as senior VP mergers and acquisitions, said “I feel extremely fortunate to take on this new role at Viacom. This is an exciting and challenging time for our company and our industry and I am looking forward to continuing to work with Tom and (CEO) Philippe Dauman to keep Viacom financially strong and out in front.” He will continue to oversee strategy and corporate development.

Davis’ ventures include the formation Viacom18 in India, managing key corporate-wide strategic partnerships with companies like Microsoft and Unilever and the acquisitions of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and Atom Entertainment. Viacom acquired DreamWorks in 2006, but the marriage with Paramount was not a happy one, spurring the departures two years later of principals Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. Epix, a partnership between Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate, launched in October 2009.

Previously, Davis was a tech and media banker in at Wasserstein Perella and Lazard Freres.

Barge was promoted to CFO from controller in 2007. He had worked at Time Warner and accounting firm Ernst & Young.

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