Day after Paramount CEO Bob Bakish confirmed staff cuts, Maria Kyriacou departs


Kyriacou was often in Australia and one of the key executives leading Paramount ANZ

Just a day after Paramount’s CEO Bob Bakish revealed a change in strategy and continuing staff reductions, the company has parted ways with a senior executive who had responsibility for Australia.

Maria Kyriacou (pictured above) has left the business after it was announced it will now have less of a focus on international content for its streaming platform Paramount+.

London-based Kyriacou for the past four years has been Paramount Global‘s president, broadcast & studios, international markets. Her responsibilities included Australia.

Last week Bakish spoke to staff about the change in strategy which will see the company lean more on its library of “Hollywood hits”.

Bob Bakish on Paramount strategy

Explaining the change of direction in a memo to staff, Bakish said:

It’s become very clear that our Hollywood hits are the biggest draw. So, in 2024, we’re focusing our resources on the most powerful, resonant franchises, films and series that perform across platforms globally.

There will be less local content, but that may not impact Australian commissions.

As we refine our content strategy, this means we’ll produce fewer local, international originals for our platforms, apart from our leading free-to-air networks in Australia, Argentina, Chile and the UK, where we will continue to have a strong pipeline of local content.

Bakish also mentioned ongoing staff reduction, explaining:

As it has over the past few years, this does mean we will continue to reduce our workforce globally. These decisions are never easy, but are essential on our path to earnings growth. We will continue to be as thoughtful as we can be, communicate when there is information to share and support our teams throughout.

Maria Kyriacou visited Paramount ANZ often

Maria Kyriacou was appointed during a restructure at what was then CBSViacom. Paul Anderson was running Network 10 Australia at the time. In January 2020, Mediaweek reported:

Maria Kyriacou, who most recently was president of international for ITV Studios, will now join the newly expanded division on February 3, 2020 with a new brief as president, ViacomCBS Networks UK & Australia, which includes responsibility for Ireland, New Zealand and Israel. With focused oversight of ViacomCBS’s operations in its two most valuable international markets, including its free-to-air broadcast networks, Channel 5 and Network 10, Kyriacou will seek content and commercial synergies between the company’s portfolio of networks and streaming services across these English-language markets.

The new president of the business in Australia visited soon after her appointment for the launch of the new season of MasterChef which featured three new judges after the clean-out in the kitchen.

Last King of the Cross

Beverley McGarvey, Lincoln Younes, Maria Kyriacou, Claude Jabbour and Jarrod Villani at the launch of Last King Of The Cross

Kyriacou was then a regular visitor to Australia. Her appearances in 2023 included the February launch of The Last King of the Cross before she then stayed on for a fancy agency and key client dinner at Sydney’s Shell House a few days later.

Later in the year she was on hand for the launch of NCIS: Sydney on the edge of Sydney Harbour. That event also attracted president & CEO, CBS and chief content officer, news & sports, Paramount+, George Cheeks.

NCIS: Sydney launch. Maria Kyriacou (fifth from left – beside Beverley McGarvey). George Cheeks is second from left

It was Cheeks, along with Paramount Global’s president, broadcast & studios, international markets, Pam Kaufman, who got to pay tribute to Kyriacou in a memo to staff about her departure:

They said Kyriacou has “demonstrated an unwavering commitment to driving our business forward, achieving commercial results, and mastering the art of delivering high-quality, authentic local stories to our platforms in markets around the world.

The memo to staff also indicated Kyriacou would not be replaced.

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