Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman has reportedly resigned and will be replaced by Thomas Dooley, currently COO, as part of an agreement ending the battle for control of the media company that has been won by 93-year-old mogul Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari Redstone.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Dooley will serve until the company’s board meeting in September, but could be asked to continue in the job.
Dauman was one of the highest paid CEOs in the U.S. but in recent year’s Viacom’s business has been bad, with ratings dropping at its cable networks and ad revenues declining. Its stock hit new lows earlier this year.
Shari Redstone was a rival of Dauman’s for control of her father’s $40 billion media empire, which includes CBS. She also criticized Dauman and opposed his election as chairman earlier this year.
The settlement would end lawsuits in Massachusetts and Delaware and allow the Redstones to add five new directors to Viacom’s board. The new directors include Judith McHale, former president of Discovery Communications, Ken Lerer, an investor in companies including Buzzfeed and Nicole Seligman, formerly president of Sony Entertainment.
Five current board members who sided with Dauman will depart over the next few months.
Dauman will remain as non-executive chairman until next month and will be able to present to the board his plan to sell 49% of Paramount Pictures. The Redstones have opposed the sale.
Dauman had been a long-time friend and colleague of Redstone, but their relationship broke after Redstone last year ousted his live-in companion, Manuela Herzer and Shari Redstone, who had had a strained relationship with her dad, became his caregiver. Herzer sued, charging that Redstone was no longer mentally competent to make decisions.
The issue of Redstone’s competence flowed to Viacom when Redstone moved to remove and replace Dauman and other Viacom directors from the company’s board, and from the board of National Amusements, the Redstone family company that owns 80% of Viacom’s voting stock.
Dauman and other Viacom directors sued to have those moves invalidated.
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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.