Viacom Names New General Counsel: Christa D’Alimonte

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Image Via Jamie Watts for Bloomberg BNA
Last month, GCE reported that respected attorney Michael Fricklas would be leaving his position as general counsel for Viacom. The news of Fricklas relinquishing the position came in an internal memo a day after Viacom unveiled a new strategic focus under the leadership of new CEO Bob Bakish. Following this news, the search began immediately for Fricklas’ replacement. As mentioned in the GCE article, the replacement would most likely come internally (although the company reportedly also considered some external options) from Viacom’s trove of experienced in-house counsel. On March 10th, D’Alimonte was named executive vice president, general counsel and secretary.  She will oversee the company’s global legal function. The veteran lawyer is a well-known, decorated and highly esteemed attorney in the Entertainment industry.
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Before working with Viacom D’Alimonte was a partner at Shearman & Sterling LLP (S&S), a storied and respected multinational law firm headquartered in New York. While in her position as partner at S&S, D’Alimonte was characterized and heralded as a “steady-handed negotiator”, who did outstanding work in mergers and acquisitions and other complicated legal matters.  D’Alimonte has most likely been on Viacom’s radar for years and was being groomed for the top position. This is because D’Alimonte is most widely known for her crucial role as intercessor in the $50 billion high-profile separation negotiations between Viacom and CBS Broadcasting in 2011.
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In fact, D’Alimonte won praises from her co-workers, partners as well as her opponents on the other side. Notably, D’Alimonte was called “very unflappable” by the attorney she is replacing, Michael D. Fricklas. Additionally, Attorney Christina Mohr, Managing Director in Global M&A at Citigroup, told Law360 the following about D’Alimonte’s negotiating skills. “Often, when you’re in the middle of transactions, you get wound up in some details,” Mohr said. “She can step back, think things through and say, ‘I think we can find a resolution here in the following way.’”For her noteworthy talent, the aforementioned Law360 named her “Top Female Deal Maker” in 2011, a prestigious award in the Entertainment legal industry.  Only 10 US-based lawyers have received this award. She left her position at S&S in 2012 and has been a part of Viacom’s legal team for six years. In her current role as senior vice president deputy general counsel and assistant secretary at Viacom to say the least, D’Alimonte just got quite the promotion.
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THR has quoted D’Alimonte as saying the following concerning her new position:“I am honored to have been selected to lead Viacom’s tremendously talented legal team, especially at such an important time in the company’s evolution. As the media landscape changes, the role of the law department has never been more critical. I look forward to working closely with leaders across the business to advance Viacom’s creative agenda and position the company for the future.” 

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