Paramount terminates GC’s contract, elevates deputy to acting legal head

Christa d’Alimonte to exit after 12 years with the company, with Caryn Groce to stand in as her replacement

Paramount owns Paramount Pictures and other media assets including MTV and CBS rafapress /

Media giant Paramount Global is parting ways with general counsel Christa d’Alimonte at the end of this month, with deputy Caryn Groce stepping in as acting GC.

In a regulatory filing, the company said it was terminating d’Alimonte’s contract ‘without cause’, entitling her to severance payments and benefits. D’Alimonte’s exit follows the collapse of merger talks with Skydance Media after Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder, backed out of the deal at the last minute. Former Paramount CEO Bob Bakish had already left the company in April amid concerns about the potential merger.

Paramount Global owns a host of well-known media brands, including Paramount Pictures, streaming service Paramount+, CBS Entertainment, MTV, Nickelodeon and Showtime. Redstone’s family company National Amusements – which owns a 77% stake in Paramount – had been looking to sell the media business, which has been grappling with a heavy debt load ($15bn at the end of last year, according to credit rating agency Fitch).

According to an internal memo that was reported by Variety magazine, d’Alimonte told colleagues in the legal department: “As some of you know, I will be leaving Paramount at the end of the month. It has been more than 25 years since I first represented Viacom, and nearly 12 years since I first walked through the revolving doors of 1515 Broadway as an employee.

“I have always been amazed by the extraordinary ways in which this department touches literally everything that happens at Paramount. Our work doesn’t often make headlines or get recognised at glitzy award shows, but you are the heart and soul of this company.

“You are key to the development and production of every piece of content, every tentpole, every marketing campaign, every distribution deal, every financing transaction, every real estate lease, the safety and experience of every employee… The list goes on and on. Your dedication, your commitment to excellence and your collaborative nature are behind it all.”

D’Alimonte had been GC at Paramount Global since its inception in 2019 following the merger of Viacom and CBS, having been GC at Viacom since 2017 and deputy GC before that. She started her career at Shearman & Sterling where she spent almost two decades, working her way up to partner.

Groce, meantime, has been with Paramount and Viacom since 2010, first joining as M&A counsel, working her way up to associate GC for M&A and international, then GC for Viacom International and finally deputy GC of Paramount Global in 2020. Groce also spent two years as a corporate transactions counsel at NBCUniversal and a year at Hogan Lovells, having started her legal career as an associate at Cravath Swaine & Moore.

In April, Sony Entertainment Pictures hired former Disney lawyer Jill Ratner as GC, replacing veteran legal head Leah Weil.

Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]