Viacom’s EVP of corporate communications Carl Folta is stepping down after more than two decades at the entertainment conglomerate, interim CEO Thomas Dooley told employees in a company memo Tuesday.
Folta started out with Gulf + Western in 1984 and joined Viacom after the 1994 merger with Paramount Communications. Since then, Folta “has been on the front lines of every major initiative and transaction in the history of our company,” Dooley said in the memo. “Nobody fought harder for Viacom and all of us. Not only did Carl guide the company through some of the most active and challenging periods in the media industry, but he also helped Sumner Redstone become one of the most recognized and globally acclaimed media executives in history.”
Folta was the chief spokesman for Redstone and later for CEO Philippe Dauman. His decision comes about three days after Dauman announced that he would step down as CEO effective Sept. 13.
Folta was well-respected by the press that covered the company and was known as a straight-shooter with a vast knowledge of Viacom operations. He also was the catalyst behind some of Viacom’s most successful social initiatives, including KNOW HIV/Aids, the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning cross-platform public education partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation and was the driving force behind the company’s current partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Get Schooled, a multi-year educational program for young people.