Viacom's restructuring claims another victim Jonathan Dolgen

MUMBAI: Just a couple of days after Mel Karmazin left Viacom as its COO another high profile executive has jumped ship. Viacom Entertainment Group chairman Jonathan Dolgen has announced his decision to resign as of 15 July.

This does not come as a surprise. Viacom's chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone had given Freston and Moonves different aspects of Dolgen's job. Dolgen oversaw the operations of Paramount Pictures, Paramount TV, Simon & Schuster, Famous Players, and Paramount Parks.

After the reshuffle Freston was also put in charge of Paramount Parks, Simon & Schuster and Paramount Pictures. Moonves now oversees Paramount TV. What is galling is that despite all this Redstone had tried to persuade Dolgen not to leave.

Not surprisingly in a statement Dolgen attributed the changes in Viacom's management structure to his decision to step aside. On a more generous note he added, "It has been a privilege to work with Sumner Redstone for more than a decade and to have participated in the growth and success of Viacom. In Tom and Les, Sumner has chosen exceptional executives to help him lead this company well into the future". Dolgen also thanked the head of Paramount Pictures Sherry Lansing. The two were responsible for three Best Picture Oscar winners including Titanic and Braveheart.

Redstone praised Dolgen's contribution to the film studio Paramount saying, "Under his leadership over the past decade Paramount made great pictures profitably. He also ran one of the most successful television production operations in the industry, and pioneered the concept of co-financing and financial discipline. This has since been emulated by other motion picture companies."

On the flip side reports further indicate that in addition to being passed over in the reshuffle Dolgen has had uneasy relationships with both Freston and Moonves. He and Moonves fought when control of the UPN Network was taken from Paramount and handed to CBS three years ago.

There was also friction between Paramount and MTV. In the past the two units have worked together to produce films based on MTV properties. At that time MTV had complained that Paramount was behaving in a high-handed way.

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