Chris Petrikin has stepped down from his role as executive vice president of global communications and corporate branding at Paramount Pictures. His exit comes on the heels of the announcement this week that ViacomCBS is replacing studio chief Jim Gianopulos with Nickelodeon head Brian Robbins. More executives are expected to follow him out the door during the leadership transition.
Petrikin was closely aligned with Gianopulos, with the pair working together for a decade at 20th Century Fox. After Stacey Snider took over the studio, Petrikin left Fox to form a strategic communications and crisis management consultancy.
Petrikin joined Fox in 2007 from the William Morris Agency to oversee corporate communications, media relations, trade advertising, awards campaigns, special events, and charitable activities. He joined William Morris in 2002 after working as a reporter and editor for several publications, including Variety, Daily Variety, Inside.com, and Inside Magazine.
Robbins is being tasked with expanding Paramount’s contributions to Paramount Plus, the new streaming service that ViacomCBS launched with the hopes of loosening Netflix’s dominance and competing with the likes of HBO Max and Disney Plus. His appointment was a shock at the film studio where Gianopulos was well-respected and well-liked. Many of the top executive core, a group that includes motion picture president Emma Watts and distribution chief Chris Aronson, worked alongside Gianopulos at Fox before joining him at Paramount.
Robbins is a former child actor who once starred on ABC’s “Head of the Class.” He reinvented himself as a producer and director, overseeing such films as “Hardball,” “Varsity Blues,” and the critically pummeled “Norbit,” before becoming an entrepreneur. Robbins launched AwesomenessTV, a YouTube channel aimed at teenagers, which he later sold to DreamWorks Animation and then Viacom.
A spokesperson for ViacomCBS did not respond to a request for comment.