Tom Freston
Fmr. Pres. & CEO, Viacom

Tom Freston: What should we be asking ourselves?

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Am I part of the problem, or part of the solution?

Tom Freston

Tom Freston was one of MTV's founding executives and until recently served as CEO of Viacom. Freston is responsible for the generation-defining ad campaign "I Want My MTV." In 1987 he became the CEO of MTV Networks, using his position to advance the networks' position in new markets, as well as launching several ancillary product lines and tie-ins, including "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," "The Real World," "Beavis and Butthead," "South Park" and "SpongeBob Square Pants." From 2004, Freston led Viacom, overseeing all cable network properties (MTV Networks and Showtime Networks), the motion picture businesses of Paramount Pictures, and the publishing operations of Simon & Schuster. He resigned in September 2006. Freston was educated at New York University and is currently on the Board of Trustees for Emerson College in Boston. Ideas recorded on: 11/5/07

Question: What should we be asking ourselves?

Tom Freston: “Am I part of the problem or am I part of the solution?” And I think that’s pretty simple. At least . . . and that’s not an either or, I suppose. It’s always a question of balance. But you know are . . . are you helping move things forward by your personal behavior? Are you acting in a way that’s in line with your . . . your sort of personal beliefs or are you not? I guess underlying that, are your personal beliefs ones that are positive? But that has to do part of the solution, part of the problem, and walking the walk and talking the talk.

Recorded On: 7/6/07