Dauman replaces 92-year-old Sumner Redstone at the helm of the media giant. Viacom's board made the move over the objections of Redstone's daughter. Fred Katayama reports.
Viacom replaced 92-year-old Sumner Redstone as chairman. His long-trusted lieutenant, CEO Philippe Dauman, will add executive chairman to his title. The board overrode the objections of Redstone's daughter, vice chair Shari Redstone, who turned down the position herself. She had said members of her family's trust shouldn't be considered, and Dauman is a trustee. Activist investor Eric Jackson of SpringOwl Asset Management had wanted Dauman out as CEO. Ratings declines at Viacom's cable networks like MTV and concerns over Redstone's poor health have slammed Viacom's shares. The board called the meeting one day after Redstone stepped down as chairman from another company he controls, the TV network, CBS. Redstone, a deal-making media mogul, transformed his family's movie theater business into a media empire. He bought Viacom, the movie studio, Paramount Pictures, and CBS. University of Delaware corporate governance expert Charles Elson said, "Stepping down at CBS is a wise move because it takes the focus off of him and back on the company. I can probably say the same thing for Viacom." Viacom's shares gave back much of their earlier gains after the board made its announcement.