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Redstone Planned for Continuity, Says Dauman

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said that while there has been a lot of "misinformation" and "hyperventilation" over the condition of executive chairman Sumner Redstone, his holdings will continue to be professionally managed after he dies or becomes incapacitated.

Dauman said Redstone remains in charge of his medical decisions and maintains his "incredible will to live" and "enjoyment of life," and asked for people talking about him to exercise some humanity in dealing with someone with physical disabilities.

Redstone's condition has been in the news because of a suit filed by a former companion that raises questions about Redstone's ability to make health care and financial decisions.

Asked about Redstone at the UBS Media Conference in New York Monday, Dauman laid out Redstone's 80% stake in National Amusements and its 80% stake in Viacom and CBS. National Amusements is run by a board that is part Redstone's family and partly professional including Dauman. Viacom's board is similairly constituted with a majority of independent directors, he said.

"Nothing has changed. Nothing has changed," Dauman said. Redstone began his estate planning 20 years ago to ensure continuity at Viacom and put in place "the structure of what happens when he dies or becomes legally determined to lack capacity—neither of which has happened. But he planned for that."

Dauman said he talks to Redstone several times a week and meets with him frequently. "What's been said is disturbing," he said, adding, "we continue to operate our company with resolve."

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.