Sumner Redstone, the 92-year old media mogul embroiled in law suits questioning his fitness to make healthcare and financial decisions, has resigned as executive chairman of CBS Corp.
CBS CEO Les Moonves was elected chairman of the board of CBS. He was nominated by vice chair Shari Redstone, Sumner Redstone's daughter.
Before electing Moonves, the CBS Board offered the position of non-executive chair to Shari Redstone, but she declined in light of her other professional and personal responsibilities, and in recognition of her confidence in Moonves.
Sumner Redstone who also controls Viacom, has set up trusts that would control the two media giants after he dies. Shari Redstone is a trustee of the Redstone trust, as is Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman.
Viacom said it has a board meeting tomorrow.
Redstone's resignation was effective Feb. 2. He was named chairman emeritus.
When Redstone was well enough to speak during CBS' earnings calls, he regularly referred to Moonves as "a super genius."
Moonves will continue as CEO, a post he's held since 2006.
"I am honored to accept the chairmanship of this great Company," said Moonves in a statement. "I want to thank Sumner for his guidance and strong support over all these years. It has meant the world to me. I am particularly grateful that Shari Redstone has agreed to continue in her role as Vice Chair of the Company. Her business acumen and knowledge of the media space remain very important to me as we move forward, and I greatly appreciate her support and invaluable counsel. I would also like to thank our excellent board of directors, who have contributed so significantly to our success. The people of CBS have achieved much together and I believe the best is yet to come."
Moonves joined CBS in 1995 from Warner Bros. Television.
Shari Redstone also serves as vice chairman of National Amusements, the Redstone holding company that owns 40% stakes in CBS and Viacom. She is also co-founder and managing partner of Advancit Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in early stage companies focusing on media, entertainment and technology.
"I have been fortunate to work with Les and he has clearly established himself as a creative and effective leader who understands both the challenges and the opportunities that are shaping today's media landscape," said Shari Redstone. "I am sure he will make a great Chair and I look forward to working with him for many years to come."
Sumner Redstone is due to have a mental examination on Friday.
The exam was requested by Redstone's former live-in companion Manuela Herzer, who took Redstone to court after being evicted from his house and removed from the list of people who can make medical decisions for him if he is incapacitated.
Redstone's ability to act as leader of Viacom was also questioned by two shareholders, one an investment firm that believes the media company would be better off without Redstone and CEO Philippe Dauman. The other is a lawsuit claiming that Redstone should give back the money he's received from Viacom as pay because he hasn't been able to earn it.
The judge ordered Redstone to be examined for one hour by Herzer's medical expert, Dr. Stephen Read, who has already testified against Redstone, but hasn't yet had access to the billionaire.
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