Sumner Redstone leaving Viacom board after February meeting

AP News
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Posted: Dec 16, 2016 1:17 PM
Sumner Redstone leaving Viacom board after February meeting

NEW YORK (AP) — Sumner Redstone is leaving the board of the movie and TV company he controls, Viacom, after its February meeting.

The 93-year-old took over Viacom in 1987 but stepped down as executive chairman in February in the middle of a courtroom battle over his health and mental capacity. Viacom said Friday that Redstone will keep his chairman emeritus title and can still attend board meetings, but won't have a vote.

The New York company owns the Paramount Pictures movie studio and networks including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and BET. Redstone also controls broadcaster CBS, and his controlling company, National Amusements, on Monday said that it's abandoning its proposal to combine the two companies, 10 years after they split. Redstone stepped down as executive chairman of CBS in February but remains on its board.

Redstone has all but disappeared from active management of the two companies, and Viacom's leadership has been in upheaval in the past few years over questions of Redstone's health as viewers of its cable networks decline and Paramount has struggled to produce hits.

Longtime CEO Phillipe Dauman was pushed out earlier this year following a legal battle with Redstone's daughter, Shari Redstone. A Viacom executive, Tom Dooley, replaced him on an interim basis and another Viacom executive, Robert Bakish, took over in November. Viacom on Monday named Bakish its permanent CEO.

Redstone had also been embroiled in a legal fight with his ex-girlfriend and former caregiver Manuela Herzer over his health and mental capacity. He sued her and another former companion, Sydney Holland, for elder abuse in October.

Viacom Inc. Class B shares rose 93 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $35.84 in afternoon trading Friday. Its shares are down almost 13 percent over the past year.


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