Changes are afoot at ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) after it was announced on Tuesday that YouTube has hired Alex Okosi as the managing director of emerging markets for YouTube in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Until recently Okosi served as the executive vice president and managing director at Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMNA, now VCNI and BET International).
According to a statement issued by YouTube, as of April 2020, Okosi will be responsible for running YouTube’s business and partnership teams across emerging markets in EMEA including Russia, the Middle East, North and sub-Saharan Africa. He will report to the Head of YouTube EMEA, Cécile Frot-Coutaz, based in the London office.
“YouTube is a game-changing platform that plays an increasingly important role in our lives today through the dynamic content and innovation that it delivers. I am very excited to be joining Cecile’s leadership team to continue empowering creators and elevating value for viewers and partners across the region,” said Okosi.
“I look forward to welcoming Alex to our YouTube EMEA leadership team. He brings a wealth of experience in the content industries and has a track record for building businesses and audiences in established and new markets. Alex will be leading our existing teams in Russia, sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa to drive further expansion in these key markets,” added Frot-Coutaz.
Who takes over at VCNI?
Upon Okosi’s official departure from VCNI at the end of February 2020, Craig Paterson and Monde Twala will be named as co-general managers of ViacomCBS Networks Africa.
In his new role as senior vice president and general manager, editorial VCN Africa, Twala will focus on content, creative, editorial and marketing across all VCNI brands.
Twala is currently the vice president of ViacomCBS Networks Africa’s BET, Youth & Music brands and is responsible for driving the development and growth of iconic music, youth and entertainment brands BET, MTV, MTV Base and MTV Music24, across the African continent.
Monde joined the company in 2016 after nearly 20 years’ experience in the South African broadcasting and media industry at the eMedia group.
Paterson on the other hand will be responsible for all corporate functions, including business development and strategy.
Currently senior vice president, business operations for ViacomCBS Networks Africa, Paterson is responsible for driving strategic growth and business opportunities in Africa. Prior to this role, Paterson was responsible for operations and finance for multimedia brands MTV, MTV Music24, Nickelodeon, Nick Toons, Nick Junior, MTV Base, BET and Comedy Central on the African continent.
He spent nearly five years at Viacom beginning in 2011 as VP of operations and finance in Africa and returned to the company in 2018 as senior vice president of business operations in Africa.
“Alex has made an immeasurable impact on our business in Africa,” said Annecchino, before adding “since launching MTV Base in 2005, Alex has spearheaded the development of our business on the continent, which now delivers more channels to Africa than any other international network – reaching 100 million viewers in 48 territories across MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and BET.”
While at VIMNA, Okosi took over leadership of BET International in 2017 and has continued to advance the value of the brand internationally delivering double-digit distribution growth and improving profitability and margins.
Under Okosi’s leadership, BET International elevated its presence at the BET Awards by incorporating the “Best International Act” award into the live broadcast, which simulcasted live in Africa for the first time. In addition, BET International expanded its presence during the BET “Hip Hop Awards” by launching a new category to honour artists from around the world.
“I am proud to have had the opportunity to build our Africa business from the ground up,” said Okosi.
“This has played a pivotal role in transforming the music and content space and changing the narrative on Africa. Leading our Africa and BET International businesses to success is testament to the extraordinary teams, colleagues and partners that I have worked with throughout my tenure. ViacomCBS has been my home for more than 20 fantastic years, and I leave behind incredible creative and commercial talent that will continue to deliver growth.”
“I am delighted that Craig and Monde will take over leadership in this important market,” said Annecchino.
“Both have worked with Alex for years, which coupled with their expertise will ensure a seamless transition. Craig and Monde are experts in their respective areas and in addition to incredible business acumen, have demonstrated leadership and collaborative excellence throughout each of their careers and tenures with the company,” he added.