Viacom boss set to depart following $72m settlement

BBC News

The chief executive of Viacom is expected to depart following a fraught, familial battle for control of the US media giant.

Philippe Dauman is set to step down next month with a $72m (£55m) payoff as part of a settlement with the company.

Before leaving, he is expected to present a plan to sell a small stake in Paramount Pictures.

The settlement follows a battle between Mr Dauman and Viacom’s controlling shareholder, Sumner Redstone.

Until recently Mr Dauman was a close confidant to the 93-year-old Mr Redstone and had worked for him for 30 years.

However, in May Mr Redstone removed him and another board member, George Abrams, from National Amusements – a company that controls Mr Redstone’s major shareholdings in both Viacom as well as CBS, the US television network.

At the time Mr Redstone said he had been unhappy with Mr Dauman’s plan to sell part of Paramount Pictures.

Mr Dauman and Mr Abrams said Mr Redstone’s daughter Shari Redstone had played a role in their removal. They said she was manipulating her father and filed a lawsuit alleging that Mr Redstone was unfit to make the decision.

Ms Redstone called the accusation “absurd”.

Thomas Dooley, Viacom’s chief operating officer, will become interim chief executive until 30 September, when the company hopes to make a permanent appointment. Mr Dauman will be executive chairman until leaving on 13 September.

Viacom will also appoint five new board members, suggested by National Amusements, who will help appoint a new chief executive.

Shares in Viacom closed up 1.8% at $48.70.