Dust settles at Viacom; Dauman steps down, Dooley is CEO

MUMBAI: It was a sparring match that waged for months. In the red corner was Viacom controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone’s once-estranged-but-now beloved 61 year old daughter Shari Redstone. And in the blue corner was Viacom’s chairman and once Redstone-favourite Philippe Dauman.

But the match has ended in a victory for the Redstones, with Dauman agreeing to resign as chairman and CEO late Thursday night (US time).

Replacing him is COO Tom Dooley, another long time Redstone associate, who has been redesignated as president and CEO until the end of the fiscal year on 30 September. And an additional five National Amusements (Redstone holds his 80 per cent of the controlling stock of Viacom and CBS through this company) nominated directors are slated to come on board Viacom.

Viacom has a corporate roster consisting of Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV and VH1.

Viacom has been locked in a public scrap ever since Redstone showed Dauman the doors along with board member George Abrams who also had a seat on his trust. But Dauman did not accept his decision and decided to knock on the doors of courts for relief and the legal battle has been waging since then..

He, however, has some time (he will be at Viacom till September) to complete a transaction that he has been backing : selling 49 per cent stake in Paramount Pictures to the Chinese Wanda group. This is something that has not got a favourbale response from Redstone and his daughter.

Dauman will also get a handsome severance package of $72 million.

The five handpicked board members who are coming on to the board include: former Sony Entertainment president Nicole Seligman, Thomas May, chairman of Eversource Energy; ianker nvestment bKen Lerer,; Avis Budget group executive chairan Ronald Nelson, executive chairman of Avis Budget Group; and former Discovery president Judith McHale.

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