Robert Bakish BS'85, '89BUS to Speak at Class Day

The leadership organizations of both undergraduate and graduate students at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University are pleased to announce today that alumnus Robert Bakish, president and chief executive officer of Viacom International Media Networks, will be the keynote speaker for Columbia Engineering’s Class Day ceremony, which will be held on May 20, 2013. The Engineering Senior Class Council, representing undergraduates, and the Engineering Graduate Student Council, representing MS, PhD, and professional degree students, jointly selected Bakish as their graduation speaker for 2013. 

Bakish, who earned his BS from the Engineering School in operations research in 1985 and his MBA from the Business School in 1989, was named president and chief executive officer of Viacom International Media Networks in January 2011. In this position, he is responsible for all Viacom media networks and associated businesses outside the United States, including those of MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount Channel, and VIVA. He is also responsible for Viacom’s U.S. Hispanic service Tr3s: MTV, Música y Más. In addition, Bakish has oversight of all of Viacom’s international TV-related joint ventures, including Viacom18 in India and ViacomSBS in Korea, as well as channel ventures with BSkyB in the U.K., Foxtel in Australia, and Telecom Italia in Italy.

“It is an honor to represent Columbia Engineering and a privilege to be asked by my School peers to speak at such an important event,” said Bakish. “I look forward to the opportunity to share my experience at Columbia Engineering and the invaluable foundation it laid for me, and most importantly, celebrate the 2013 graduates and their limitless professional futures.”

“We are honored to have Bob, a distinguished alumnus and a powerhouse in the media world, speak at Class Day this year,” said Donald Goldfarb, interim dean at Columbia’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. “I have known him since he was a student in the IEOR Department when I joined the faculty in 1982. Bob’s impressive career path in media and business exemplifies the versatility of a Columbia Engineering education, and his ties to the School send a positive and uplifting message to our future leaders in engineering and applied science as they set out on their own paths to success.” 

Prior to his appointment as president and chief executive officer of Viacom International Media Networks, Bakish was president of MTV Networks International, running MTVN’s operations outside the U.S. He previously served as executive vice president for operations and Viacom Enterprises, where he was responsible for strategic planning, business development, and other corporate initiatives. Before that, he served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of MTVN Advertising Sales and was also chairman of the Cable Television Advertising Bureau. Prior to that, he was senior vice president, planning, development and technology, for Viacom. Before joining Viacom, Bakish was a partner with Booz Allen & Hamilton in its media and entertainment practice.

—by Holly Evarts

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