NEW YORK – Viacom Inc. announced on Monday the appointment of Greek-American Jim Gianopulos as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Pictures, effective April 3, 2017.
In his role as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Paramount, Gianopulos will oversee the studio’s film and television operations worldwide, including production, marketing, distribution and all other facets. He also will be charged with setting a new strategy for Paramount, including developing new content, strengthening Paramount’s slate with co-branded releases from Viacom flagship brands, and expanding the studio’s global footprint.
Jim Gianopulos said, “Paramount is one of Hollywood’s truly iconic studios, and the role it has played in shaping the entertainment industry cannot be overstated. Looking ahead, I see a strong opportunity to position the studio for success by creating valuable franchise opportunities, developing fresh creative ventures, and mining Viacom’s deep brand portfolio to bring exciting new narratives to life. I am eager to get to work with Bob and the rest of the Viacom and Paramount teams to ensure Paramount continues to deliver rich, powerful films and television programming for all audiences.”
Bob Bakish, said, “Jim is a remarkably talented executive with all the tools – strategic vision, strong business expertise, deep industry and creative relationships – to bring films to life that resonate throughout culture and deliver commercial results. I’m thrilled we will have the benefit of his experience, savvy and global expertise as we lay out a clear path forward and begin the next chapter in Paramount’s storied history.”
The Gianopulos family story is one of survival and success. His father, Nikos, came to the United States as an illegal alien right after the end of WWII and the Greek Civil War.
But for Nikos even to arrive here, he had first to miraculously survive the sinking of the Greek Navy cruiser Elli that was hit by an Italian submarine in August 1940 while anchored on the island of Tinos.
His survival was solely a matter of luck and timing, as he was on a higher part of the vessel when the torpedo hit the Elli’s bottom. A few months later, Italy invaded Greece after Ioannis Metaxas refused to surrender.
When Nikos Gianopulos arrived in the United States in 1951, he created the American Ship Repair Co. that provided replacement parts to international commercial fleets. The company has remained a family owned business ever since.
HELLENISM AND THE HERALD
Nikos created the company even though he did not speak English at the time. He received all his news, in Greek, from this newspaper’s sister publication Ethnikos Kyrix-National Herald.
”My father anxiously awaited for the evening edition of the National Herald, every day,” Jim Gianopulos said. He remembers that they always spoke Greek in the house.
”It was not until I went to Kindergarten that I spoke English on a regular basis.” His father had an interesting approach. He told Gianopulos that “you will always be an American but you have to be Greek first.” Gianopulos’ mother, Maria, hailed from Constantinople.
Gianopulos went to law school and his first inclination was to specialize in admiralty law, relevant to the family business. But he did not find it exciting and turned his attention to entertainment law, as he had great interest in music and film.
Gianopulos has been a leading figure in the global entertainment industry for more than 30 years. For 16 years, he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fox Filmed Entertainment, overseeing Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox International Productions, and Twentieth Century Fox Animation/Blue Sky Studios. During his tenure, he oversaw numerous box office hits, ranging from “Avatar” and the “X-Men” series, to “The Descendants” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and most recently “Deadpool” and “Hidden Figures.”
Previously, Gianopulos served as President of 20th Century Fox International. Prior to joining the company, he held senior positions at Columbia Pictures and Paramount. He began his career as an attorney specializing in entertainment law. Gianopulos is Treasurer of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Chairman of the Motion Picture & Television Fund, and a Trustee of Carnegie Melon University and the American Film Institute. He also serves on the USC School of Cinematic Arts Board of Councilors.
Gianopulos attended the LLM program at the New York University School of Law and received his JD from Fordham University School of Law. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston University.