Viacom to reduce director board by two

MUMBAI: Media conglomerate Viacom which owns MTV and Paramount has announced that 15 of its board directors will stand for a re-election at the annual stockholders meet on 19 May.


They will include nine independent directors. Previously there were 17 members. William H. Gray III and Ivan Seidenberg will leave the board in order to focus on other business interests.

Viacom CEO and board chairman Sumner Redstone was quoted in a company release saying, "Bill and Ivan have decided to leave our board in order to focus on other commitments. These include the responsibilities they have as CEOs of The College Fund/UNCF and Verizon respectively, as well as their service on other boards of directors.

"While we will miss their counsel and leadership, their decision gives us the opportunity to further reduce the size of our board as we did last year. Our aim is to move closer to our target size of 14 members."

Meanwhile a Reuters report has indicated that both Redstone and Viacom president and COO Mel Karmazin saw their salaries rise and bonuses fall in 2003. A proxy statement filed with the US Sec yesterday shows both Redstone and Karmazin receiving salaries of $3.99 million and bonuses of $15 million in 2003. Both had received salaries of $3.63 million and bonuses of $16.5 million in 2002.

Through his company National Amusements, Redstone holds about 71 per cent of the voting interest in Viacom.

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