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YouTube Hires Viacom Exec Alex Okosi to Bolster EMEA Growth

YouTube has tapped ViacomCBS Networks International exec Alex Okosi as managing director of emerging markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the company announced Tuesday.

Okosi will be responsible for running YouTube’s business and partnership teams in Russia, the Middle East, and Africa, and will report to the head of YouTube EMEA, Cécile Frot-Coutaz. He will depart as executive vice president and managing director of VCN Africa and BET International at the end of February and assume his new post in April.

Okosi spent more than two decades with Viacom, spearheading the growth and development of the company’s properties across Africa, where the network reaches 100 million viewers in 48 territories through iconic brands such as MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and BET.

That experience will come to bear at YouTube, as the Google-owned streaming giant continues its push into emerging markets. Two years ago, the company rolled out its lightweight YouTube Go video app in 130 countries, allowing consumers to stream videos with cheaper mobile phones or limited internet access. Emerging markets, particularly in Asia, have registered among the world’s highest growth rates for streaming video services.

The company has over 2 billion monthly unique users globally who watch over a billion hours of video a day.

“YouTube is a game-changing platform that plays an increasingly important role in our lives today through the dynamic content and innovation that it delivers,” said Okosi. “I am very excited to be joining Cecile’s leadership team to continue empowering creators and elevating value for viewers and partners across the region.”

“[Okosi] brings a wealth of experience in the content industries and has a track record for building businesses and audiences in established and new markets,” said Frot-Coutaz. “Alex will be leading our existing teams in Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa to drive further expansion in these key markets.”

With his departure, Craig Paterson and Monde Twala will be named as co-General Managers of ViacomCBS Networks Africa. Okosi, who took over leadership of BET International in 2017 and helped drive the brand’s international expansion, said he was leaving behind “incredible creative and commercial talent that will continue to deliver growth” for the company.

“I am proud to have had the opportunity to build our Africa business from the ground up,” he said. “This has played a pivotal role in transforming the music and content space and changing the narrative on Africa.”

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