CBS Entertainment Boss George Cheeks Names Chris Ender As New Communications Chief

As they say, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy – in the best way.

Nearly 25 years after joining CBS as a media relations executive, Chris Ender today was named communications chief for the CBS Entertainment Group.

“Reporting to me, Chris will be responsible for all public relations, media relations and corporate communications functions across our CBS divisions,” said CEO George Cheeks in a memo to staff on Wednesday. “Chris’ leadership and strategic counsel have been invaluable to me during my first few months at CBS and I quickly came to trust his judgment,” added the ex- Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal Content Studios of Ender.

Set to be based out of CBS’ Studio City HQ “with regular appearances in New York when business travel permits in the future,” Ender’s elevation comes one day after his predecessor Dana McClintock officially exited the ViacomCBS company. A 27-year vet of CBS, McClintock announced his departure back in early March, before the industry, America and the world were so strongly hit by the coronavirus.

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Replacing Joe Ianiello in the top job, Cheeks returned to the Viacom fold earlier this year and took over as President and CEO of CBS Entertainment on March 23.

Promoted to EVP of Communications for CBS Corp in 2013, the universally well-regarded and respected Ender joined the company back in 1996 as VP media relations, CBS Entertainment. Two years later, the PR pro was upped to SVP Communications.

Ender’s jump up the corporate ladder comes at a time of continuing change at Black Rock and its divisions – and we don’t just mean because of the challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Steered by Shari Redstone, Viacom and CBS reunited last August after a divorce in 2006 following their first corporate marriage in 1999 when the Sumner Redstone controlled former purchased the latter. Having kept his hand steady on Viacom’s wheel since taking over as CEO in 2016,  Bob Bakish was unsurprisingly named the president and CEO of the merged entity last summer. Ianniello, interim CEO of CBS since September 2018, was given the chairman and CEO of CBS title until his departure this spring.

Read George Cheeks’ full memo on Chris Ender’s promotion here:

CBS Colleagues – I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Chris Ender as head of communications for the CBS Entertainment Group. Chris takes the baton from Dana McClintock who left the Company yesterday having announced his departure earlier this year. Reporting to me, Chris will be responsible for all public relations, media relations and corporate communications functions across our CBS divisions.

Chris’ leadership and strategic counsel have been invaluable to me during my first few months at CBS and I quickly came to trust his judgment. His keen sense of how to manage complex issues and powerfully promote our great content are only surpassed by his integrity and decency. His steady hand leading our talented communicators in every CBS division will be an asset as we continue to evolve and thrive in our ever-changing industry.

Chris will continue to be based at our Studio City campus with regular appearances in New York when business travel permits in the future. Rick McCabe, who has skillfully supported our business communications – external and internal – will lead our NY team, reporting to Chris. Both Chris and Rick will work closely with our ViacomCBS Corporate Communications leaders to coordinate CBS messaging as part of broader communications strategies at the Company.

I’d also like to take a moment to thank Dana for his outstanding and dedicated service to CBS over his 27-year career at Black Rock. His perspective and guidance were very helpful to me as I know they’ve been to my predecessors. We will all miss him and we wish him nothing but the best as he begins his next chapter.

Please join me in congratulating Chris on his new role and wishing Dana well.

George

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