Viacom and CBS have appointed Doretha “DeDe” Lea as EVP, Global Public Policy and Government Relations of ViacomCBS, a position that will become effective when the pending merger of the companies is closed.
As the top lobbyist for the soon-to-be-merged company, Lea will report to CEO Bob Bakish. The $30 billion, all-stock merger of CBS and Viacom is expected to close by the end of 2019. Both companies already share the same controlling shareholder, National Amusements, and operated within the same corporate structure from 2000 to 2006.
Among the many regulatory and legislative issues in Washington, ViacomCBS will be continuing to safeguard its rights to retransmission consent, which have turned into a lucrative revenue source over the years.
In a move related to Lea’s appointment, longtime CBS lobbyist John Orlando will leave the company at the time of the close. In addition to his two-decade run at CBS, Orlando also worked on Capitol Hill for 14 years. For seven of those years, he was chief of staff to long-tenured Rep. John Dingell (D.-Mich.), and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Lea has served as EVP, Global Government Affairs of Viacom since 2013 and first joined the company in 1997. She was VP of Government Affairs for local TV station group Belo Corp. and SVP of Government Relations for the National Association of Broadcasters.
“DeDe has been an incredible advocate for Viacom, our audiences and the creative community over the past two decades,” Bakish said in the official announcement. “She brings unmatched experience, relationships and leadership to this role, and we’re thrilled she will serve as the voice of ViacomCBS in Washington and in the highest levels of government around the world.”