Dan Cohen has been elevated to ViacomCBS’ top distribution post as longtime CBS Corp. international sales chief Armando Nuñez shifts to an advisory role.

Cohen will serve as president of ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group, starting in June. Nuñez has been chairman of ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group and chief content licensing officer since the integrated Viacom and CBS Corp. management team was assembled last fall.

The plan for Nuñez to hand the reins to Cohen was worked out months ago, around the time that the leadership team for Viacom and CBS Corp. was settled. Nuñez will remain on board as a consultant.

“Thanks to Armando’s exceptional leadership, the critical work to unify our global licensing and distribution operations is complete, and the team is moving forward with a comprehensive strategy for the future,” said ViacomCBS president-CEO Bob Bakish. “In fact, we are already making material progress growing this key business, driven by our combined strength in studio production and our unrivaled library of hit franchises and titles across TV and film. With a smooth transition between outstanding leaders, and with Dan at the helm, we continue to be in the best position to thrive.”

Cohen’s role encompasses sales of content from CBS, the CW, CBS All Access, Showtime, Paramount Pictures and its related brands. He will also oversee first-run syndication from CBS Television Distribution, home entertainment and licensing of the vast CBS and Paramount film and TV libraries.

“Together, Armando and I have established a solid foundation for this division,” Cohen said. “We’ve built a world-class team and have a treasure trove of quality content that will propel this division forward. I couldn’t be more excited to lead this group into the future.”

Cohen joined Paramount Pictures in 2017 as president of worldwide TV licensing. Before that he spent 20 years at Disney/ABC, rising to executive VP of pay television and digital sales for Home Entertainment and television distribution for Walt Disney Studios.

Nuñez has been with CBS Corp. since 1999. He’s a well-respected veteran who was recognized with Variety‘s International Achievement in TV kudo in 2019.

“When Bob asked me to lead this group post-merger, part of the plan was that I would transition from day-to-day leadership to an advisory role once the two teams were integrated and a future strategy was set,” Nuñez said. “Working side by side with Dan, that process has gone faster than expected and is now complete. We are well-positioned wherever this rapidly evolving media landscape takes us, and I can’t think of anyone better to lead us forward than Dan.”

Here is Nuñez’s full memo to ViacomCBS staffers:

Good morning, team…I’m reaching out today with an update about our division.

Early next month, I will begin a transition to an advisory role for ViacomCBS and pass the baton to Dan Cohen to lead our Global Distribution Group. 

This completes a plan that has been in the works since pre-merger, when Bob asked me to lead the newly combined CBS and Paramount group. My charge was to integrate our teams strategically and position our licensing/distribution operations for the future. Working side by side with Dan, we have accomplished this much faster than any of us expected. 

We are now a fully integrated global content powerhouse with 24 offices and a library of nearly 4,000 films and 140,000 episodes of television.

We have the right people in place, and we have come up with the right strategy to exploit these amazing assets wherever this rapidly evolving media landscape takes us.

We also have the right person to lead us forward. Dan is an accomplished, experienced licensing executive, a great colleague and a good friend. Add to that, he’s got a biting sense of humor that makes every meeting more fun. I’m confident Dan will lead this group to outstanding heights (and humor).

Barry Chamberlain will continue to lead international distribution, and Steve LoCascio will continue to do the same on the domestic side. They are both outstanding executives who are the best in the business.

I’ll still be around to help further with the integration…supporting Dan, Barry and Steve…but I will step back from the day-to-day.

It has been the honor of a lifetime to lead this group in its many incarnations during the last 21 years. How many execs can say they worked on integrating CBS and Paramount in 2004…splitting them apart in 2005…and putting it back together again in 2020!

I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world and establish client relationships that bridge many decades. I love the concept of exporting Americana and take great pride in being part of a team that built lucrative global television franchises. I’ve also had the privilege to help establish co-ventures in the U.K. and EMEA/Africa and the acquisition of Network 10/Australia. It has been truly exciting to be part of a distribution business that has evolved with such sophistication in how it licenses and windows content across so many platforms.

Most of all though, it is the daily camaraderie and relationships with the team that I will miss the most. Great memories of our time together closing deals at all hours across insane time zones…sales conferences…staff meetings…and intense preparations for our tentpole events such as May screenings, MIPCOM and NATPE. 

Even better are the memories of the lighter, quieter moments of companionship we shared on the road amidst all the action – sipping espresso at cafes, sharing a pint in a pub, or dining in one of the many unique restaurants we discovered around the world.

Thank you to all my incredible teammates who helped and supported our efforts along the way. Thank you to every one of our employees for the role you will play going forward. Thanks to Bob for giving me the opportunity to tee up this division for its future. This global distribution group will be a major force for ViacomCBS going forward.

Take it away, Dan!

(Pictured: Dan Cohen, Armando Nunez)