LONDON — Bill Roedy, the architect of MTV’s global expansion for the past 20 years and one of showbiz’s most prominent international execs, is set to retire at year’s end.
Viacom chairman Philippe Dauman told staffers Tuesday that the London-based Roedy, who masterminded the international rollout of MTV and sister outfits Nickelodeon, VH1 and Comedy Central, had “crisscrossed the planet, planting our flag on nearly every continent and spreading the gospel of quality, audience-first programming from Beijing to Bangalore to Buenos Aires and everywhere in between.”
Roedy’s duties will be assumed by Bob Bakish, who has been prexy of MTV Networks Intl. since early 2007.
Roedy joined MTV in 1989 as chief exec and managing director of MTV Europe. He became prexy of MTV Networks Intl. in 1994 and was upped to chairman-CEO of the wing in 2007. During his tenure, MTV’s international business has expanded to 172 channels in 162 countries.
Roedy took an unusual path to a career in TV. A graduate of West Point and Harvard U., Roedy served as an officer in the U.S. Army for seven years, including a stint as commander of three NATO nuclear missile silos in Italy. He took a 180-degree turn in the late 1970s and joined HBO as a manager of national accounts in 1979. He wound up overseeing West Coast affiliate operations for HBO before moving on to MTV.
His background served him well in helping to navigate the international scene for Viacom, Dauman said. Growth of MTV Networks’ overseas operations has been a vital source of earnings growth for the conglom.
“He is an advocate for human rights and an open-minded student of unfamiliar cultures,” Dauman said. “He is a man trained to fight Communism who spent decades deploying entertainment, children’s programming and health education in countries like Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and throughout Africa.”
Roedy intends to remain involved with MTV’s Staying Alive foundation, which he chairs.